Pakistan: Now or Never?

Towards a regional settlement in Afghanistan (Redux squared)

February 24, 2010

arghandabRegular readers of this blog will know we have been talking for a long time about finding a regional solution to Afghanistan. The argument — much touted during President Barack Obama’s election campaign — was that you could stabilise the country if you persuaded the many regional players with a stake in Afghanistan — including Iran, Pakistan, India, Russia and China — to cooperate rather than compete in finding a political settlement to what was effectively an unwinnable war.

India and Pakistan: finding the right forum for dialogue

February 23, 2010

agra“Peace,” said Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw “is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous.”  Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao begins that arduous process on Thursday when she meets her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir to try to break a diplomatic freeze that followed the November 2008 attack on Mumbai.

Lashkar-e-Taiba founder says sees room for Pakistan-India talks

February 18, 2010

singhgilaniThe idea of holding talks to resolve the many competing interests across Afghanistan, Pakistan and India — which has most recently focused on whether the Afghan Taliban can be brought to the negotiating table — appears to be catching on.

Pakistan’s arrest of Mullah Baradar: tactics or strategy?

February 17, 2010

marjahThe arrest of Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Karachi leaves big unanswered questions about why Pakistan chose to act now against a man credited with giving operational coherence to Afghan Taliban (or Quetta Shura Taliban) operations in Afghanistan.

Musharraf in London

February 15, 2010

musharraf salute

Perhaps the most striking thing about a speech given by former president Pervez Musharraf in London on Monday was how many people turned out to hear him. There were two overflow rooms for those who wanted to hear his words relayed over closed-circuit television. I can’t think of many former rulers who can pack a crowd like that — although this was also a measure of the intense interest in London in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Pune bombing unlikely to derail India-Pakistan talks

February 15, 2010

german bakeryThis weekend’s bombing which killed nine people in the Indian city of Pune — the first major attack since the 2008 assault on Mumbai — is unlikely to derail plans for the foreign secretaries, or top diplomats, of India and Pakistan to hold talks on Feb. 25.

from India Insight:

India’s ‘amnesty’ to Pakistan-based Kashmiri rebels

February 12, 2010

The Indian government has for the first time offered amnesty to hundreds of Kashmiris who had crossed over to the Pakistani part of Kashmir and are now willing to surrender and return home.

“My Life with the Taliban” – on study and Islamic values

February 10, 2010

zaeefIn  “My Life with the Taliban”,  Abdul Salam Zaeef — who fought with the mujahideen against the Soviets in Afghanistan and later served in the Taliban government before it was ousted in 2001 — writes of how he longed to escape the trappings of office and instead follow in the footsteps of his father as the Imam of a mosque, learning and teaching the Koran.

On India-Pakistan thaw and the changing Afghan dynamics

February 7, 2010

siachensaluteThere is a time and a place for everything and back in the days of the Obama election campaign the idea that progress on the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan could help turn around the flagging military campaign in Afghanistan looked plausible. The argument, much touted by Washington think-tankers, was that Pakistan would not turn against Afghan Taliban militants on its western border as long as it believed it might need to use them to counter India’s growing influence in Afghanistan, and as long as it felt the need to keep the bulk of its army on its eastern border with India.

On Afghanistan: a quick round-up of views from around the world

February 2, 2010

afghan girlFollowing up on my post earlier this week on fighting over a settlement in Afghanistan, here is a quick round-up of reaction on how this new phase in the Afghan war is being perceived, according to the editorials and op-ed pages from  some of the countries with a stake in the region. Please add more in the comments if you think there are important articles which have been overlooked: