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

21 October 2017

Navy SEALs Were Ready if Pakistan Failed to Free Family Held as Hostages

By Adam Goldman, Eric Schmitt,

A C.I.A. drone was circling a remote valley in northwest Pakistan last month when it picked up an unusual sight: a young woman and children in a militant camp. To intelligence analysts, she appeared to be an American abducted five years earlier while backpacking in Afghanistan with her Canadian husband.

The grainy images were a breakthrough. Military planners mobilized members of the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, an elite group of commandos, to mount a rescue, according to senior American officials. But the operation was called off amid concerns, and days later, the C.I.A. watched in alarm as militants drove the family out of the camp and across Pakistan’s lawless tribal lands.

How A US Raid On An Afghan Village Went Wrong

By Dan Vergano

It was Nov. 2, 2016, and he was strapped into one of two mammoth CH-47’s flying over the city of Kunduz in northern Afghanistan on a moonless night. Loaded with 59 men in all — a company of Afghan commandos and a team of Green Berets backing them up – the big birds were headed to a village called Boz-e-Qandahari on Kunduz’s northern outskirts.

He and the rest of the men had no idea that they were flying into a deathtrap — one that, thanks to incomplete intelligence, would claim the lives of two Green Berets, three Afghan commandos, and 32 civilians, including six women and 20 children. The civilians died as the American and Afghan raiders faced an unanticipated onslaught of Taliban fighters reminiscent of the Mogadishu slaughter memorialized in the movie Black Hawk Down.

20 October 2017

The Future of US Troops in Afghanistan: Assessing Potential Roles

By Rajat Ahlawat

In his new strategy for Afghanistan, US President Donald Trump recently decided on increasing the number of American troops in the country. He said a hasty withdrawal would create a power vacuum for the terrorists, which would pose a serious threat for the struggling Afghan security forces. Many previous reports have indicated that the majority of Afghan forces still lack independent operational capabilities and more ground-level advisors embedded within their units are required to provide advisory and assistance. The US military is also conducting ground and aerial counterterrorism operations against the Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K) and Taliban targets.

18 October 2017

Pakistan’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa Positions Itself for Politics

By: Animesh Roul

On August 7, 2017, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the chief of Pakistan’s banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist groups, launched a political party. The Milli Muslim League (MML) has yet to be recognized as a legitimate political party by Pakistan’s election commission, but it already has its eye on the 2018 general elections. Its leaders have been vocal, heavily criticizing the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted from office in July by a supreme court ruling.

17 October 2017

Pakistan’s Tactical Nukes: Relevance and Options for India

by Arka Biswas

Pakistan’s introduction of tactical nuclear weapons has raised questions about two elements of India’s nuclear doctrine. While the issue of no-first-use has gathered much of the public attention, that debate is misplaced. It is not India’s NFU policy, but its massive retaliation posture that fails to credibly deter or counter Pakistan’s introduction of tactical nuclear weapons.

The Risks of Pakistan's Sea-Based Nuclear Weapons

Nine days into 2017, Pakistan carried out the first-ever flight test of the Babur-3, it’s new nuclear-capable submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM). A variant of the Babur-3 ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM), this SLCM will see Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent head to sea—probably initially aboard its Agosta 90B and Agosta 70 submarines, but eventually, perhaps even on board new Type 041 Yuan-class submarines Pakistan is expected to procure from China.

Safer at Sea? Pakistan’s SeaBased Deterrent and Nuclear Weapons Security

On January 9, 2017, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) announced that the country had successfully carried out the first-ever flight test of a nuclear-capable, submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM)—the Babur-3, a variant of the Babur-2 ground-launched cruise missile.1 With the introduction of the Babur-3, Pakistan seems headed toward adding a sea leg in the coming decade to complement a nuclear force structure that previously relied solely on land-based missiles and aircraft-delivered weapons.

16 October 2017

Pak heading for military rule

By Maj Gen Harsha Kakar

The recent statement, post the meeting between the Pak foreign minister, Khawaja Asif and the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, included a comment indicating concerns about the future of Pakistan’s government. This announcement was made after inputs began flowing of a growing rift between the polity and the army, which holds sway over the country. The statement aimed to support the civil establishment and was possibly signalling a warning to the army to stay away.

'The Taliban Can't Win,' Says Commander Of U.S. Forces In Afghanistan


Gen. John W. "Mick" Nicholson settles into his wood-paneled office inside the American-led military headquarters in Kabul. It's lined with plaques, pictures and ceremonial swords.

He has spent more time in Afghanistan, in various jobs, than any other senior American officer — a total of 5 1/2 years. The commander of NATO's Resolute Support mission and U.S. forces in Afghanistan since March 2016, Nicholson is a genial West Point graduate with salt-and-pepper hair — and a renewed confidence.

11 October 2017

Afghanistan: A Historical Analysis of Mission Command and its Effect on our Current Security Environment

In “Afghanistan: A Historical Analysis of Mission Command and its Effect on our Current Security Environment” (Landpower Essay 17-2, September 2017) the authors examine the use of mission command—and the failure to use it—in two battles in the adjacent provinces of Paktia and Khost in Afghanistan. While the details of the Second Battle of Zwahar in the 1980s provide ample evidence of the catastrophes and embarrassments that occur when the principles of mission command are ignored, events that occurred in 2002 in the Shahikot Valley point to the contrasting phenomenal successes that can be gained when mission command is actual put into cooperative practice. 

10 October 2017

New U.S. helicopters mark major change for Afghan air force

Josh Smith

A Blackhawk helicopter flies above a parked A-29 Super Tucano aircraft, during a handover ceremony of Blackhawk helicopters from U.S. to the Afghan forces, at the Kandahar Air. Senior Afghan and American officials welcomed the arrival of new U.S.-made military helicopters on Saturday, beginning a process that will radically transform the young Afghan air force.

A Military History of Afghanistan: From the Great Game to the Global War on Terror

 by Ali Ahmad Jalali

Afghanistan is many things. It may – or may not – be a graveyard of empires, depending on which end of the shovel you happen to be on. It is definitely one of the lands that produces more military history than can be consumed locally. Afghanistan is, for its size, one of the most diverse and complex countries on earth. The foreigners that end up waging war there usually do not understand Afghanistan. 

Afghanistan and Strategy: A Perspective 16 Years On

By Robert Cassidy

"No one starts a war – or rather, no one in his senses ought to do so – without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by that war and how he intends to conduct it.” Carl von Clausewitz

Pakistan’s ISI thwarts US plans in Afghanistan

By Commodore C Uday Bhaskar (Retd.)

Almost 16 years to the day since the US embarked upon its war on terrorism against the Afghan Taliban on October 7, 2001 as reprisal for the enormity of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it appears that a White House administration is again issuing dire warnings to Rawalpindi (GHQ of the Pakistan Army) while still dangling the familiar ‘carrot.’ 

Time for another Strike against Pakistan

By Brig Anil Gupta

The recent terrorist attack on a Border Security Force (BSF) Battalion Headquarters in Srinagar has confirmed three things beyond doubt. Firstly; in Pakistan alias Atankistan, the Army continues to call the shots and not the civilian government led by a dummy prime minister. Secondly; the realm of Indo-Pak relations does not fall in the domain of foreign policy but continues to be an adjunct of defence policy and hence is formulated in General Head Quarters (GHQ) Rawalpindi and not at Islamabad by the Foreign Minister. Thirdly, Pakistan Army unashamedly continues to use terror as an instrument of policy against India disregarding the international opinion and UN pronouncements. 

Pakistan September 2017: State of the Nation & its Regional Implications

By Dr Subhash Kapila

Pakistan in September 2017 perceptionaly appears in an existential crisis wherein all major pillars of state stand engulfed in a systemic failure likely to endanger regional security and a crisis from which Pakistan cannot retrieve itself without a change of existing mindsets by Pakistan’s policy establishment.

9 October 2017

Afghanistan: U.S. Offers Pakistan yet Another 'Last Chance'

By Hussain Nadim

Following US President Donald Trump's address on Afghanistan policy in August, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing that the US is willing to work with Pakistan 'one more time' in Afghanistan. In another hearing, General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, alleged that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) maintains links with terrorist groups.

For Pakistan, neither calls for 'one last chance' nor allegations of ISI links with terrorist groups are anything new. As such, the same old US policy repackaged by a new administration is likely to get the same old response from Pakistan.

8 October 2017

Pakistan Draws a New Battle Line in the Afghan War

In the war in Afghanistan, Pakistan plays both sides. On the one hand, the country aids the United States in its fight against the Taliban. Pakistan offers NATO forces access to the port of Karachi to transit supplies to their bases in landlocked Afghanistan and tacitly allows the CIA to conduct drone strikes against militant hideouts in the semi-autonomous Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Yet on the other hand, Pakistan has nurtured the Taliban for more than 20 years. Pakistan's government in Islamabad supports the group as a means to many ends, including stabilizing Afghanistan, opening trade and energy routes to Central Asia, formalizing the Durand Line, and establishing a government in Kabul hostile to archrival India. By assisting both the United States and the Taliban throughout their nearly 16-year conflict, Pakistan has managed to benefit from an alliance with Washington, collecting over $33 billion in aid since 2002, while also pursuing its security objectives.

Pakistan in the Middle East: A Cautious Balance

By Huma Yusuf

Discussions about Pakistan’s foreign policy challenges typically focus on its relations with its neighbors – particularly India and Afghanistan – and with greater powers such as the United States and China. But Pakistan’s relations with the Middle East are shifting at the fastest clip with significant implications for its security and economy. The way in which Pakistan responds to the deepening regional rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran as well as the ongoing dispute within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will have a major impact on stability in the near term.

7 October 2017

The danger of all talk and no action

Brahma Chellaney

Recently, India branded Pakistan a “Terroristan”. And its external affairs minister told the United Nations that Pakistan, as the world’s “pre-eminent terror export factory”, has just one national accomplishment to boast of. Yet New Delhi is loath to back its words with even modest action, such as downsizing Pakistan’s bloated, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)-infested high commission in New Delhi, withdrawing the unilaterally granted “most favoured nation” status, leveraging the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), or halting the barter trade across the line of control (LoC) that the National Investigation Agency has identified as financing terrorism.