Sanjeev's Feed
Sep 8, 2011

In Afghanistan’s Panjshir, disquiet over Taliban reconciliation

DALASANG, Afghanistan (Reuters) – At the entrance to Afghanistan’s magnificent Panjshir Valley, an 84-year supporter of resistance hero Ahmad Shah Massoud said his village was fully armed to fight a resurgent Taliban to the end.

Like the Russians before them, the Pashtun Taliban have failed to penetrate Panjshir fortified by jagged cliffs and plunging valleys, coming as far as neighboring Nuristan province as they extend their control in the north and east of the country.

Sep 6, 2011

India, China navies square off in nearby seas and beyond

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A little over a fortnight before China conducted sea trials for its first aircraft carrier, an Indian naval ship slipped into the South China Sea.

INS Airavat, an amphibious assault vessel designed to launch troops on enemy beaches, was on a show-the-flag mission in July when it was challenged as it sailed from Vietnam’s Nha Trang port near the deep-water harbour of Cam Ranh Bay.

Sep 6, 2011

Analysis – India, China navies square off in nearby seas

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A little over a fortnight before China conducted sea trials for its first aircraft carrier, an Indian naval ship slipped into the South China Sea.

INS Airavat, an amphibious assault vessel designed to launch troops on enemy beaches, was on a show-the-flag mission in July when it was challenged as it sailed from Vietnam’s Nha Trang port near the deep-water harbour of Cam Ranh Bay.

Aug 22, 2011
via Afghan Journal

America in Afghanistan until 2024 ?

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The Daily Telegraph  reports that the status of forces agreement that the United States and Afghanistan are negotiating may allow a U.S. military presence in the country until 2024 .  That’s a full 10 years beyond the deadline for withdrawal of U.S. combat troops and handing over security responsibilities to Afghan forces.

The negotiations are being conducted under a veil of security, and we have no way of knowing, at this point at least, if the two sides are really talking about U.S. troops in the country for that long. ( The very fact that a decade after U.S. troops entered the country there is no formal agreement spelling out the terms of their deployment is in itself remarkable)

Aug 17, 2011

China speeds past India’s slow train to Himalayas

KATRA, India, Aug 17 (Reuters) – India’s struggle to build a
railway to troubled Kashmir has become a symbol of the
infrastructure gap with neighbouring China, whose speed in
building road and rail links is giving it a strategic edge on
the mountainous frontier.

Nearly quarter of a century after work began on the project
aimed at integrating the revolt-torn territory and bolstering
the supply route for troops deployed there, barely a quarter of
the 345-km (215-mile) Kashmir track has been laid.

Aug 14, 2011

On the India-Pakistan border, a cold peace

SURATGARH, India (Reuters) – It has been nearly eight years since India and Pakistan agreed a ceasefire over Kashmir – long enough for residents to start building brick houses and plant paddy fields up to the edge of one of the world’s most heavily militarized borders.

But for soldiers guarding the disputed frontier, it is a fragile peace that can be broken at any time.

Aug 8, 2011

In Kashmir valley, a ray of light from India’s economic surge

SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) – In a cheerful hall humming with voices, rows of young men and women handle calls from irate cellphone subscribers in eastern India in perfect Hindi.

It could be an outsourcing center in Bangalore or Hyderabad. But this is insurgency-scarred Kashmir, where association with India has always been regarded with suspicion.

Jul 13, 2011
via Afghan Journal

On the Afghanistan-Pakistan border : cutting off the nose to spite the face

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Pakistan’s defence minister has threatened to move forces away from the Afghan border, where they are deployed to fight al Qaeda and the Taliban, if the United States cuts off aid to the cash-strapped country. Ahmed Mukhtar’s logic is that Pakistan is essentially fighting America’s war on the Afghan border, and if it is going to put the squeeze on its frontline partner, then it will respond by not doing America’s bidding.

But  apart from the issue of whether Pakistan can really stand up to the United States  is the question of whether Islamabad can afford to pull back from the Afghan border for its own sake. This is no longer the porous border where movement of insurgents is confined to members of the Afghan Taliban travelling across to launch attacks on foreign forces in their country. Over the past few weeks, the traffic has moved in the reverse direction, with militants crossing over from Afghanistan to attack Pakistani security posts, Pakistani officials say.  These are not armed men sneaking across in twos and threes , but large groups of up to 600 men armed with rocket launchers and  grenades flagrantly crossing the mountainous border to attack security forces and civilians in Pakistan. (It also stands Pakistan’s strategy of seeking strategic depth versus India on its head; now the rear itself has become a threat.)

Jul 5, 2011
via Afghan Journal

Drone strikes are police work, not an act of war?

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Launching an air strike in another nation would normally be considered an act of aggression. But advocates of America’s rapidly expanding unmanned drone programme don’t see it that way.

They are arguing, as Tom Ricks writes on his blog The Best Defense over at Foreign Policy, that the campaign to kill militants with missile strikes from these unmanned aircraft, is more like police action in a tough neighbourhood than a military conflict.

Jul 3, 2011
via Afghan Journal

Pakistan’s Shamsi base : a mystery wrapped in a riddle

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Pakistan Defence Minister Mukhtar Ahmad’s comments this week that the government had ended U.S. drone flights out of Shamsi air base deep in southwest Baluchistan province has injected new controversy in their troubled relationship. U.S. officials appeared to scoff at Mukhtar’s remarks, saying they had no plans to vacate the base from where they have in the past launched unmanned Predator aircraft targeting militant havens in the northwest region.

Washington’s dismissal of the Pakistan government’s stand is quite extraordinary. Can a country, even if it is the world’s strongest power, continue to use an air base despite the refusal of the host country ?  The United States is effectively encamped in Pakistan using its air strip to run a not-so-secret assassination campaign  against militant leaders including Pakistanis while Islamabad fumes.