This month, four Iranian border guards were freed two months after being kidnapped and allegedly taken into Pakistan by an Iran-based Sunni militant group. In an email interview, Isaac Kfir, a senior researcher at Syracuse University’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism and a visiting assistant professor of law and international relations, explained the state of Iran-Pakistan relations. WPR: What has been the recent trajectory of the Iran-Pakistan security relationship, particularly regarding their shared border? Isaac Kfir: Iran and Pakistan work together on some issues and compete on others. The two countries have good cooperation on drug interdiction, as both […]

While Americans debate when and where the United States should use drones to strike at insurgents and terrorists who cannot be reached by other means, they may be overlooking an important trend: the move to supply a targeted killing capability to allied nations. This began when the Bush administration decided to provide technology and advice to help the government of Colombia kill the leaders of its narco-insurgency. Today, the U.S. military is also helping the armed forces of Yemen field systems for the targeted killing of anti-government extremists associated with al-Qaida. This is the beginning of a trend, as more […]

This weekend’s first round of Afghanistan’s presidential election saw the country’s political institutions perform much better than during the 2009 ballot, while the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) provided a relatively safe and secure electoral environment. The winners may not be clear and certified until May. It seems likely that no candidate received more than half the votes, meaning that a runoff between the two leading candidates will probably occur in June. But already the results offer hope for Afghanistan’s status as a functioning democracy in which multiple candidates compete for the highest offices in elections whose outcome cannot be […]

With Chad’s announcement in early April that it was pulling its peacekeeping troops out of the Central African Republic (CAR), the country finally seemed to be bending to widespread criticism of the actions of its soldiers. Things had gone from bad to worse for Chad’s armed forces, the ANT, from a high point last year when its role in support of France’s Operation Serval in Mali was widely praised. The ANT’s achievement in Mali has been overshadowed by recent events in the CAR, including reports from the African Union’s MISCA peacekeeping force in Bangui that Chadian soldiers in a suburb […]

On Saturday, Afghans will go to the polls in the first round of an election that, if all goes well, will result in the first democratic transfer of presidential power in Afghanistan’s history. While the country has held two presidential and two parliamentary elections since the U.S. invasion in 2001, Saturday’s will be the first of the post-Taliban era to be secured entirely by Afghan forces. The campaign period has posed a major test for the Afghan National Security Forces, which formally assumed responsibility for Afghanistan’s security from international troops last summer. The Taliban have targeted poll workers, candidates and […]