By John C. K. Daly

April 8, 2020, the CACI Analyst

After 18 months of negotiations, the U.S. and the Taliban signed their bilateral landmark “peace agreement” in Doha on February 29, alongside representatives from more than 30 nations. Afghanistan’s northern neighboring post-Soviet states, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, are concerned whether Afghanistan’s post-ceasefire instability will intensify and subsequently spill across the borders after foreign military missions withdraw. If the unrest roiling Afghanistan erupts into open military confrontation following the departure of foreign military forces, the question is whether the three nations alone can mount an acceptable response, particularly Turkmenistan whose international neutrality stance is recognized by the United Nations.

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Published in Analytical Articles

By Sudha Ramachandran

March 7, 2020, the CACI Analyst

The Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan, signed by the U.S. and the Taliban on February 29, is a major milestone in the almost two-decade long war between the two adversaries. While it could change the trajectory of the conflict, it is unlikely to bring peace to Afghanistan. Narrow self-interest of the two signatories drove the deal, rather than the objective of peace in Afghanistan. This and the flawed content of the agreement will in all likelihood lead to escalating violence in the coming months.

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Published in Analytical Articles
Wednesday, 26 February 2020 00:00

How is Afghanistan Really Doing?

How is Afghanistan Really Doing?

 By: S. Frederick Starr

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The Afghan peace talks are the order of the day. The negotiations themselves are wrapped in secrecy. But are Americans (and NATO allies) in a position to evaluate their outcome? This depends in large measure on whether our reigning assumptions about what’s going on in Afghanistan itself are accurate. This briefing paper acknowledges that many of them are; Afghanistan remains a very troubled land. But it also presents evidence that those assumptions are dramatically and woefully incomplete. It argues that important positive developments in the Afghan economy and society have been largely ignored, but are gaining ground over the long term. These in turn demand and justify revisions in strategic thinking in Washington and other NATO capitals.

Americans are well acquainted with the official evaluations of American aid to Afghanistan that have been issued annually by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). Based on voluminous data, these reports present a grim tale of malfeasance and corruption. Headings in the “Executive Summary” of the most recent report include “Widespread Insecurity,” “Under- developed Civil Policing Capability,” “Endemic Corruption,” “Sluggish Economic Growth,” “The Illicit Narcotics Trade.” “Threats to Women’s Rights,” “The Challenge of Reintegration,” and “Restricted Oversight.”

The work of the Special Inspector General has been thorough and dispassionate. To be sure, one can challenge his findings in several areas.

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Published in Feature Articles
Thursday, 16 January 2020 00:00

Afghanistan and the U.S. - Iran Confrontation

By Sudha Ramachandran

January 16, 2020, the CACI Analyst

The recent escalation of tension in the Persian Gulf following the assassination of a top Iranian general in a U.S. missile strike in Baghdad has set alarm bells ringing in the region. Iraq has already been dragged into the escalating U.S.-Iran tit-for-tat missile strikes. Given the fact that Afghanistan neighbors Iran and has a large presence of U.S. troops and facilities, the country risks becoming an additional battleground for the U.S.-Iran conflict, with potentially serious consequences for Afghanistan and the region.

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Published in Analytical Articles

By Sudha Ramachandran

October 14, 2019, the CACI Analyst

On September 7, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he was calling off peace negotiations with the Taliban. The announcement took the world by surprise since U.S. negotiators had said that ongoing negotiations with the Taliban had produced a draft accord only a week earlier. It seemed then that the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan was imminent, yet their exit has now been put on hold. In addition to triggering another phase of heightened violence in the war-ravaged country, Trump’s decision could pave the way for an enhanced role for Russia and China in the Afghan peace process.

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Published in Analytical Articles

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Silk Road Paper Svante E. Cornell and S. Frederick Starr, Kazakhstan's Role in International Mediation under First President Nursultan Nazarbayev, November 2020.

Book S. Frederick Starr, Eldar Ismailov, Nazim Muzaffarli, Basic Principles for the Rehabilitation of Azerbaijan’s Post-Conflict Territories, 2010.

Analysis Svante E. Cornell, How Did Armenia So Badly Miscalculate Its War with Azerbaijan? The National Interest, November 14, 2020.

Op-ed Svante E. Cornell, Halting the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan: Russian Peacekeeping is not the Solution Washington Times, October 20, 2020.

Analysis Svante E. Cornell, Can America Stop a Wider War between Armenia and Azerbaijan? The National Interest, October 5, 2020.

Article S. Frederick Starr, America Inches Toward a Serious Central Asia Strategy AFPC Defense Dossier, June 3, 2020.

Silk Road Paper Farrukh Irnazarov and Roman Vakulchuk, Discovering Opportunities in the Pandemic? Four Economic Response Scenarios for Central Asia, July 2020.  

 

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.

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