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 Richard Weitz (09/03/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
President Barack Obama’s recent characterization of China as a global free rider certainly applies in Afghanistan. Although China has declined to join the NATO-led International Security Force in Afghanistan or even allow its members to use Chinese territory to supply their forces in Afghanistan, Chinese firms have been benefiting from the massive economic and security contributions of other countries to Afghanistan. But that time is ending and China and the West need to strike a new and more balanced bargain there. Chinese alarm about Afghanistan is rising as U.S. concerns and commitments are declining.
By John Daly (08/05/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Two routes of the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), collectively known as the Northern Lines of Communication (NLOC) run through Russia, but deteriorating U.S.-Russian relations over Ukraine could complicate the continued usage of the NDN by U.S./NATO/ISAF forces. The NDN’s importance is well understood in both Washington and Moscow. The question is now, in an attempt to modify Russian behavior over Ukraine, whether a proposed third round of increased Western sanctions and intensified NATO activities around Russia’s periphery may cause the Russian government to deny ISAF and NATO further use of the NLOC segments of the NDN.
By John. C.K. Daly (07/02/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
The turmoil that has devastated Afghanistan since the 1979 Soviet invasion and subsequent 2001 Western campaign against the ruling Taliban has left the country in a fragile political state, but its telecommunications sector has thrived. The Afghan government is leasing a telecommunications satellite, which will provide nationwide coverage. Currently all communications in Afghanistan are connected through other countries’ satellites. In 2001 when the Western campaign against the Taliban began, the country had a primordial land-based copper wire telephone network.
By Richard Weitz (07/02/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Iran’s growing role in Iraq to counter the Sunni militants there has attracted increasing attention in recent weeks, but Tehran looks likely to assume a more prominent role in Afghanistan as well. Iranians see challenges as well as opportunities in both countries, where actors hostile to Iranian interests are active. The civil strife in Iraq and Afghanistan easily spills over into Iran, and their governments turn primarily to Washington for military support despite their growing ties with Tehran. In Afghanistan, Iran has pursued a complex multi-layer strategy designed to pursue its diverse and competing objectives.
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.