By Sudha Ramachandran (04/01/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)
The reported eastward expansion of the Islamic State (IS) into South Asia has set alarm bells ringing as it is expected to inflame the already volatile situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. There are serious differences between the IS and the Taliban and the latter will put up a strong challenge to the growth of IS in Afghanistan. A sharp increase in violence in the strife-torn country can be expected as the Taliban and the IS battle for Afghan hearts, minds and territory. Importantly, the entry of IS into Afghanistan will impact the peace process.
By Sudha Ramachandran (01/22/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani’s recent visit to Beijing was an important milestone in Sino-Afghan relations as it marked the start of China’s enhanced role in Afghanistan, especially as a peacemaker in the war-ravaged country. While Beijing’s close ties with Pakistan will come in handy in dealing with the Taliban, the road to building stability in Afghanistan is littered with landmines. Can Beijing succeed where mightier powers such as the Soviet Union and the United States did not?
By Naveed Ahmad (11/11/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Pakistan’s semi-autonomous region of North Waziristan has gone through an unprecedented transformation since June. The Pakistani military has launched an all-out assault on the Taliban Haqqani Group’s hideouts. The Taliban and its foreign collaborators have either escaped to Southern Afghanistan or remain holed up in their havens. The military’s most recent claims put militant fatalities to 910 and its own to 82 officers and soldiers. The fate of the long-awaited military campaign, timed with ISAF’s exit from Afghanistan, is crucial not only for the region but also for international stakeholders in the war-torn nation, who nevertheless have different definitions of “success.”
By Mushtaq A. Kaw (09/17/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Alongside the current U.S.-Taliban conflict, the U.S. has unsuccessfully sought reconciliation with the Taliban for a political settlement of the Afghan crisis. Nonetheless, in May 2014, the U.S. swapped five Taliban prisoners for one U.S. soldier to renew the peace process and ensure stability in Afghanistan before the planned exit later this year. However, the prisoner exchange failed to deliver results due to the Taliban’s indifference to dialogue and democratic processes. Consequently, no political settlement for peace in Afghanistan is forthcoming before the U.S. drawdown. A settlement is equally unlikely in its immediate aftermath, which will likely be dominated by rivalries between the Taliban and their competitors.
By Jacob Zenn (09/03/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Despite concerns about the threat of Central Asian militant groups to their home countries after the U.S. withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, these militant groups are currently focused on “winning” primarily in Afghanistan, secondarily on China’s Xinjiang Province and South Asia, and only then on their home fronts. Central Asians in Syria and Iraq, however, are receiving inspiration from the Islamic State’s self-declared Caliphate and military successes and are vowing that they will create a similar Caliphate in Central Asia. In the near-term, China, Pakistan and possibly India are within range of Central Asian militant groups, but the security crises in Central Asia that are most likely to emerge come from the region’s own internal weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
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.