By Naveed Ahmad (the 08/01/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Pakistan’s third-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has appointed a new Chief of Army Staff replacing former President Pervez Musharraf’s handpicked man, General Ashfaq Pervez Kiani. The elevation of General Raheel Sharif made global headlines primarily due to the country’s nuclear capability and its military’s tendency to intervene in politics through overt coup d’états. General Sharif, however, assumes leadership of the world’s sixth largest military at a time when NATO troops are in a process of withdrawing from Afghanistan after a presence lasting over a decade. Despite Pakistan’s improved democratic credentials, the leverage of its army chief on policies towards Afghanistan and India is likely to remain as decisive as it has ever been.
By Rizwan Zeb (the 13/11/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
After the death of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Hakimullah Mehsud in a U.S. drone attack and the appointment of the hardliner and staunchly anti-Pakistan Mullah Fazlullah, prospects for Pakistan’s dialogue process with the TTP seem bleak. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif nevertheless pledged to continue the peace talks. At the heart of this decision is the confusion that after more than a decade, Pakistan’s political leadership is still debating whether this is its war and whether they should talk to its own people. This position indicates a clear lack of understanding of the jihadist mindset, and of the realities and challenges that Pakistan is facing.
By Stephen Blank (the 30/10/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
The U.S. has decided to give up the base at Manas, presumably because that base is not worth retaining once it leaves Afghanistan next year, and will relocate the base to Romania. Washington is instead moving most of its logistics through Pakistan, with a corresponding decline in the use of the Northern Distribution Network. Once U.S. forces leave Afghanistan there will be no military presence in Central Asia to speak of. Second, the TAPI gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan, nominally the centerpiece of America’s New Silk Road initiative, languishes for lack of any financing.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.