Pakistan: Now or Never?

In Afghanistan: fighting over the terms of a settlement

January 31, 2010

karzai londonAt last week’s London conference, two of the great truisms of warfare punched their way to the surface. The first is that wars are fought as much on the home front as on the battlefield. With public support for the war in Afghanistan ebbing away, the United States and its allies in NATO have shifted from seeking outright victory to looking for an exit strategy that will allow them to start bringing home their troops next year.  Rather as the British did after their two failed invasions of Afghanistan in the 19th century, they are sending in reinforcements in a display of military might which they hope will secure better terms in an eventual settlement.

On Taliban/AQ ties and the Afghanistan exit strategy

January 26, 2010

british soldierVahid Brown at the CTC Sentinel has a new article (pdf document) out arguing that the relationship between Taliban leader Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden before 9/11 was considerably more fractious than it was made out to be.  The main source of argument was between the Taliban’s Afghan nationalist agenda and bin Laden’s view of global jihad, and in particular his determination to attack the United States, he says.

from India Insight:

Kashmir marks 20 years of conflict, peace still distant

January 25, 2010

A policeman walks behind a razor wire fence near the venue of India's Republic Day celebrations in Srinagar January 25, 2010. REUTERS/Fayaz KabliOne of the world's longest-running separatist insurgencies, one that has killed tens of thousands of people in Kashmir, completed two decades last month.

U.S. policy confusion on Pakistan and India

January 24, 2010

jinnah flagWhat is the U.S. policy towards Pakistan and India, and in particular over how to deal with their rivalry over Afghanistan which complicates U.S. efforts to bring stability there? I’ve been trying to find an answer for weeks now amid a raft of contradictory signals and statements coming from different U.S. officials.

Shunning Pakistani players is not cricket

January 21, 2010
(The Pakistani cricket team)

(The Pakistani cricket team)

Pakistani cricketers, the press and ordinary people are livid about their players’ exclusion from India’s Premier League , the game’s most lucrative tournament played out before a vast television audience. Eight Indian teams that take part in the tournament bid for players  from around the world, doling out large sums of money.  But nobody bid for the 11 Pakistani players on the list, includng some who were part of the Pakistani squad that won last year’s  World Cup Twenty20 tournament, the three-hour version of the game that the IPL is also played in.

Pakistan: ditching “strategic depth”

January 20, 2010

Indian farmer in front of Taj MahalKamran Shafi has a column up at Dawn mocking Pakistan’s old strategy of seeking “strategic depth” - the idea that in the event of war with India its military would be able to operate from Afghanistan to offset its disadvantage as a small country compared to its much bigger neighbour:

from Afghan Journal:

The price of greater Indian involvement in Afghanistan

January 19, 2010

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U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is heading to India, and one of the things Washington is looking at is how can regional players such as India do more in Afghanistan. "As we are doing more, of course we are looking at others to do more," a U.S. official said, ahead of the trip referring to the troop surge.

Brzezinski on U.S.-India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and China

January 17, 2010

brzezinskiThe Real News had an interview last week with former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski who talks about how U.S. policy is playing out across Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and China. The second part of the interview covers his support for the mujahideen fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, but here is what he has to say about Pakistan and the regional dynamics: 

from India Insight:

Time for India to start talking to Pakistan?

January 15, 2010

It has been more than a year since the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai and many commentators have been advocating restarting the peace process between India and Pakistan.

from Afghan Journal:

Opening up Afghanistan’s trade routes

January 15, 2010

Afghan seller at the World Pomegranate Fair in Kabul. Pic by Reuters/Omar Sobhani

Afghan seller at the World Pomegranate Fair in Kabul. Pic by Reuters/Omar Sobhani