Pakistan: Now or Never?

from Tales from the Trail:

Is Holbrooke’s “bulldozer” style working?

March 12, 2010

Dubbed the "bulldozer" for his tough guy tactics in Balkan negotiations, U.S. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke has been making waves in South Asia recently.

Pakistan’s strategy on the Taliban; the Kabul and Islamabad views

March 8, 2010

karzai zardariIf you read all the commentary on the arrest by Pakistan of Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar  amongst others, there is a very clear distinction between the view from Kabul and the view from Islamabad about what is going on. That is not surprising given the deep distrust between Afghanistan and Pakistan, but I’ve noticed it has become particularly acute over the last month or so. The main argument is whether the arrest of Mullah Baradar and others  was meant to undermine a pro-talks faction and replace them with a harder line ISI-backed Taliban, or whether Pakistan is rounding them up in order to keep control over any negotiations on reconciliation with the Taliban. If the latter were true, it would be expecting the United States to address Pakistan’s own security interests, particularly in relation to India, in return for its help in tackling the Afghan Taliban.  

Seeking Saudi cooperation on Afghanistan and Pakistan

February 28, 2010

saudiPrime Minister Manmohan Singh is making the first visit to Saudi Arabia by an Indian leader since 1982, seeking to build economic ties and to enlist the kingdom’s help in improving regional security. While much of the focus is likely to be on securing oil supplies for India’s growing economy, the visit is also part of the complex manoeuvres by regional players jostling for position on Afghanistan and beyond.

Pakistan, India and the Kabul attack

February 27, 2010

kabulAs discussed in my last post, the place to watch for developments on relations between India and Pakistan right now is more likely to be Kabul than Kashmir. That may have been graphically illustrated when Taliban fighters attacked Kabul on Friday, killing 16 people, including up to nine Indians.

Pakistan, India send in their professional diplomats to break the stalemate

February 25, 2010

raobashirThe foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan, meeting in New Delhi to end a diplomatic freeze which followed the November 2008 attack on Mumbai, did what they were expected to do — laid out all the issues which divide the two countries and agreed to “keep in touch”.

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.

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.