Sanjeev's Feed
Feb 9, 2012
via Pakistan: Now or Never?

Afghanistan: Asia’s Congo

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                                   By Dan Magnowski

For many in the West, Afghanistan and Iraq have much in common.
 Both are Islamic countries whose nasty regimes were kicked out by
the U.S. after September 11 2001; in both places, the Americans,
British and others stayed and spent huge amounts of money on nobody’s
quite sure what; and both were examples of ‘evil’, back when that was
a cornerstone of foreign policy thinking.

Dec 27, 2011

Afghanistan tells NATO to disband local force, may open rift

KABUL (Reuters) – NATO is reviewing the activities of an irregular police force set up to bolster security mainly in the troubled north, the alliance said on Tuesday, following a call by the Afghan government that it be disbanded.

The row over the Critical Infrastructure Protection program (CIP) launched in areas where there are not enough regular security forces threatens to open a new rift with President Hamid Karzai who sees them as parallel structures that undermine his authority.

Dec 26, 2011

Afghanistan sets ground rules for Taliban talks

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghanistan will accept a Taliban office in Qatar to help peace talks but no foreign power can get involved in the process without its consent, the government’s peace council said, as efforts gather pace to find a solution to the 10-year war.

Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, in a note to foreign missions, has set out ground rules for engaging the Taliban after Kabul grew concerned that the United States and Qatar, helped by Germany, had secretly agreed with the Taliban to open an office in the Qatari capital, Doha.

Dec 26, 2011

Exclusive: Afghanistan sets ground rules for Taliban talks

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghanistan will accept a Taliban office in Qatar to help peace talks but no foreign power can get involved in the process without its consent, the government’s peace council said, as efforts gather pace to find a solution to the 10-year war.

Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, in a note to foreign missions, has set out ground rules for engaging the Taliban after Kabul grew concerned that the United States and Qatar, helped by Germany, had secretly agreed with the Taliban to open an office in the Qatari capital, Doha.

Dec 19, 2011

Pakistan restores Afghan border centers in step forward

KABUL (Reuters) – Pakistan has restored liaison officers at coordination centers on the Afghanistan border, NATO said on Monday, in a slight easing of tensions, after NATO air strikes last month killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers and provoked fury across the country.

But the U.S.-led coalition’s supply lines that run through Pakistan remain closed since the November 26 incident and it is both in the interests of foreign forces as well as Pakistan that the routes be opened sooner rather than later, the alliance said.

Nov 17, 2011
via Afghan Journal

Shooting from the hip : Pakistan and the U.S. election season

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It’s rarely a nice thing for a foreign country to figure high in a U.S. presidential election campaign. If it is China, it is more likely to be about currency and trade disputes with Beijing, and how each of the candidates was going to tackle it than any bouquets. Or if it is Iran, you can be sure there would be some shooting from the hip as each candidate seeks to outbid the other in trying to convince voters he or she means business with the perceived threat from that country’s nuclear programme.

And so if you were a Pakistani, last weekend’s Republican presidential debate would be just as worrisome even though you know this is election season and candidates are given to competitive sabre rattling. The country was mentioned 55 times in the debate in South Carolina, notes Sadanand Dhume in a piece on The Enterprise blog. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the leading candidate, said Pakistan was nearly a failed state with multiple centres of power  including  a weak civilian leadership and a powerful military.

Nov 11, 2011
via Afghan Journal

India-Afghan strategic pact:the beginnings of regional integration

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A strategic partnership agreement between India and Afghanistan would ordinarily have evoked howls of protest from Pakistan which has long regarded its western neighbour as part of its sphere of influence.  Islamabad has, in the past, made no secret of its displeasure at India’s role in Afghanistan including  a$2 billion aid effort that has won it goodwill among the Afghan  people, but which Pakistan sees as New Delhi’s way to expand influence. 

Instead the reaction to the pact signed last month during President Hamid Karzai’s visit to New Delhi, the first Kabul had done with any country, was decidedly muted. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani  said India and Afghanistan were “both sovereign countries and they have the right to do whatever they want to.”  The Pakistani foreign office echoed Gilani’s comments, adding only that regional stability should be preserved. It cried off further comment, saying it was studying the pact.

Nov 9, 2011

Analysis: With an eye on 2014, India steps up Afghan role

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – India plans to train Afghan army combat units at top counter-insurgency schools, officials say, deepening its commitment to Afghanistan as Western forces prepare to withdraw, a move that will fan Pakistani fears of encirclement.

India may also provide light weapons to the Afghan army and train pilots and ground staff for Afghanistan’s small air force under a strategic partnership agreement signed last month.

Nov 9, 2011

With an eye on 2014, India steps up Afghan role

SINGAPORE, Nov 9 (Reuters) – India plans to train Afghan
army combat units at top counter-insurgency schools, officials
say, deepening its commitment to Afghanistan as Western forces
prepare to withdraw, a move that will fan Pakistani fears of
encirclement.

India may also provide light weapons to the Afghan army and
train pilots and ground staff for Afghanistan’s small air force
under a strategic partnership agreement signed last month.

Oct 15, 2011
via Afghan Journal

The Taliban in Afghanistan’s once impregnable Panjshir Valley

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Last month driving up Afghanistan’s magnificent Panjshir valley, you couldn’t help thinking if the resurgent Taliban would ever be able to break its defences, both natural and from the Tajik-dominated populace. With its jagged cliffs and plunging valleys, Panjshir has been largely out of bounds  for the  Taliban, whether during the civil war or in the past 10 years when it has expanded a deadly insurgency against western and Afghan forces across the country. But on Saturday, the insurgents struck, carrying out a suicide bombing at a provincial reconstruction team base housing U.S. and Afghan troops and officials.

They were halted outside the base, but according to the provincial deputy governor they succeeded in  killing two civilians and wounding two guards when they detonated their explosives. The Taliban claimed responsibility, saying the first suicide bombing in a decade was a message to Western forces that they were not secure anywhere in the country. They said the  bombers came from within Panjshir, which if true  would worry people even more  because that would suggest the penetration was deeper and there could be more attacks.