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.
Rizwan Zeb (the 02/10/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
The drone attack killing in early September 2013 of Mullah Sangeen Zadran, who had been a U.S. target since 2011, is hailed as evidence of the effectiveness of drone strikes in the war on terror. Islamabad has decided to raise the drone issue at the UN, although it is debatable what objectives this will serve. Nawaz Sharif’s government wants to improve its relations with the U.S., a difficult objective considering the growing anti-Americanism in Pakistan due to these drone strikes. The drone issue is a serious complication in Pakistan-U.S. relations and puts Pakistan’s ability to support the withdrawal from Afghanistan into question.
by Gulshan Sachdeva (07/10/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Despite many positive developments in the last few years, the future of the ambitious TAPI gas pipeline project is still in doubt. All four partner countries are making serious preparations for the project. However, the uncertainty surrounding post-2014 Afghanistan has dampened the motivation among major energy companies to act as lead consortium partners of the project. In these circumstances, multilateral agencies like the Asian Development Bank may have to play a crucial role in salvaging the project. Likewise, if the U.S. administration is serious about its support for TAPI, it should put its full diplomatic and financial weight behind it.
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.