By Charlie Smith (08/07/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Central Asia is a key region that many believe has fallen into the crosshairs of the terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State (ISIS). Local governments are gravely concerned about returning fighters and possible ISIS infiltration in the region, and foreign powers, especially neighboring Russia and China, have expressed their deep concerns. This grim picture, however, obscures a more complex, and perhaps more accurate, story. Might the specter of ISIS have less to do with its on-the-ground ability to destabilize the region and more to do with the geopolitical concerns of those who are stating these threats?
By Sudha Ramachandran (06/10/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Pakistan and Afghanistan have signed a landmark deal providing for cooperation between their intelligence agencies. Jointly tackling terrorism is the ostensible aim of the pact. Will it help bring the Taliban to the negotiation table and contribute to Afghan reconciliation or will it trigger a new round of fighting in Afghanistan? The pact’s future is uncertain as it faces fierce resistance in Afghanistan. More importantly, Pakistan has not reciprocated Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s gestures. Is Ghani’s plan to bring peace to Afghanistan backfiring?
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.”
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.