Pakistan: Now or Never?

After Holbrooke, chances of political settlement in Afghanistan fall

December 15, 2010

holbrookeReading through some of the many thousands of words written about Richard Holbrooke,  for me two stories stood out in their ability to capture what will be lost with his death:

Academics, experts appeal to Obama to back Taliban talks

December 11, 2010

arghandabA group of academics, journalists and NGO workers have published an open letter to President Barack Obama appealing to him to support direct negotiations with the Taliban leadership.

On WikiLeaks, India, Pakistan and a partisan media

December 10, 2010

SOUTHASIA SIACHENReading through some of the WikiLeaks cables, I have been struck by how easy it might be to take the fragmentary and often outdated information contained in them and make a case to support either side of the India-Pakistan divide.  Now it turns out someone did, but without even the support of the underlying cables, according to this version of Pakistani media reports by the Pakistan blog Cafe Pyala of alleged Indian skulduggery, including in Baluchistan. 

Pakistan talks up al Qaeda/Taliban split

December 7, 2010

british soldierPakistan is increasingly talking up the need for a political settlement in Afghanistan which would force al Qaeda to leave the region. And while there is little sign yet Washington is ready to hold serious negotiations with Afghan insurgents, analysts detect a new tone in Pakistani comments about driving Osama bin Laden’s organization out of its haven on the Pakistan border.

Wikileaks on Pakistan

November 28, 2010

iran pakistanIn the State Department cables released by Wikileaks and so far reported, the most eye-catching as far as Pakistan is concerned is a row with Washington over nuclear fuel.

Al Qaeda, its branches and Afghanistan

November 22, 2010

osamaSo little is known about al Qaeda that it is can be tempting to see patterns when none exist, or conversely to see only madness when there is method at work.

Taliban talks: “an iffy, high-level treaty”

October 15, 2010

arghandab3In Obama’s Wars, Rob Woodward attributes the following thoughts to U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke on the prospects for a peaceful settlement to the Afghan war:

Pakistan’s General Kayani given three-year extension

July 22, 2010

kayani profilePakistan army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez  Kayani, is to be given a a three-year extension to his term of office to maintain continuity in the country’s battle against Islamist militants. 

When two foreign policy crises converge: Iran and Afghanistan

July 18, 2010

zahedanLast week’s suicide bombing of a mosque in Zahedan, capital of the Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchestan, is another reminder of how far two of the United States’ main foreign policy challenges – its row with Iran over its nuclear programme, and its policies towards Afghanistan and Pakistan – are intertwined.

New report accuses Pakistan’s ISI of backing Afghan insurgents

June 13, 2010

us soldiersAccording to a new report published by the London School of Economics, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency not only funds and trains Taliban fighters in Afghanistan but is officially represented on the movement’s leadership council, giving it significant influence over operations.