BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan — For the past month, the word on everyone’s lips across Kyrgyzstan has been “raskol,” meaning “schism,” as voters nervously await a presidential election on Oct. 30 that will be an important test for the unity of the state. With the wounds of last year’s revolution and ethnic violence still fresh, fears of a national conflict along north-south lines are running high, a possibility that holds important implications for regional politics and the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Eighteen months after the April 2010 revolution that toppled authoritarian President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, Kyrgyzstan is struggling to consolidate its democracy in […]
Long before Afghanistan was an Islamic country, Buddhist settlements dotted its mountains and deserts. While the Taliban infamously destroyed the giant Buddhist statues of Bamyan Province in 2001, many archeological riches remain. This U.S. government-run Voice of America report examines efforts to preserve such riches.
With President Barack Obama’s announcement last week that all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by the end of this year, most Americans breathed a sigh of relief. Lost in those headlines was the collective shudder of national security experts and practitioners who know Washington’s dirty little secret: More than 10 years after the war against violent extremism began, the United States still lacks true deployable civilian power. The handover in Iraq from the Defense Department to the State Department at the end of this year will showcase this Achilles’ heel, one that will haunt U.S. foreign policy until […]
This report produced by the U.S. Department of Defense explores the U.S. militaries ongoing strategy of training Afghan policy and security forces and mentoring the leadership of Afghanistan’s Department of the Interior.
Since 2001, Afghanistan has become synonymous with the term “narcostate” and the associated spread of crime and illegality. Though the Afghan drug economy peaked in 2007 and 2008, cultivation this year still amounted to 325,000 acres, and the potential production of opium reached 6,400 tons (.pdf). Narcotics production and counternarcotics policies in Afghanistan are of critical importance not only for drug control there and worldwide, but also for the security, reconstruction and rule of law efforts in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, many of the counternarcotics policies adopted during most of the past decade not only failed to reduce the size and scope […]
Last week, on a study trip to Turkey for U.S. foreign policy specialists sponsored by the Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey (TUSKON), I traveled to Ankara, Hatay and Istanbul to meet with government officials, academic and think tank experts and business leaders. While there, we discussed many issues, including the remarkable health of the Turkish economy, the domestic political scene, the increased tolerance for expressions of Kurdish and Islamist identities, and Turkey’s relations with other countries. But perhaps the overarching theme tying all these issues together for us was the “Whither Turkey” question. For decades the Republic of […]
The strategic partnership agreement signed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi last week made front-page news across the region and beyond. The attention it attracted is hardly surprising: The agreement, the first of its kind for Afghanistan, includes the provision of training for Afghanistan’s military and police, the establishment of social and cultural exchanges, and measures to enhance economic ties. It also comes in the context of increasing tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan. A day prior to the announcement, Karzai harshly criticized Islamabad for not supporting ongoing peace and stability operations in […]
In a move that signals India’s resolve to stay the course in Afghanistan after NATO troops withdraw in 2014, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) with visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai in New Delhi last week. The SPA includes a major security component, with India “agreeing to assist, as mutually determined, in the training, equipping and capacity-building programs for Afghan National Security Forces.” That this was the first security pact of any kind signed by India on the subcontinent was not lost on Islamabad, with former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf immediately dubbing the pact “anti-Pakistan.” […]
On Sept. 6, members of Afghanistan’s upper house of parliament declared that the Afghan government and the international community have failed in their counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan. Just three months earlier, Afghan Deputy Minister for Counternarcotics Baz Mohammad Ahmadi told reporters that more than 3 million Afghans continue to participate in the illicit drug industry. He pleaded with the international community to support further operations, especially in Afghanistan’s border provinces, and to consider establishing a counternarcotics academy within Afghanistan. Ten years after the United States first invaded the country on Oct. 7, 2001, the drug menace emanating from Afghanistan remains […]
This report produced by the human rights advocacy organization Amnesty International asserts that 10 years after a US-led military invasion removed the Taliban from Afghanistan, the Afghan government and its international supporters have failed to keep many of the promises they made to the Afghan people.
The recent U.S. claims that Pakistan’s intelligence service have aided attacks against U.S. troops in Afghanistan; the discovery that Osama bin Laden had been living for years in a safe house in central Pakistan; the U.S. special forces operation to attack his Pakistani compound without notifying Pakistani authorities; the disputes over U.S. drone strikes on Pakistani territory: These and other controversies are surface manifestations of a deeper “trust deficit” between the United States and Pakistan. On Sept. 22, then-Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen made explosive comments about the nature of the relationship between Pakistan’s […]
With instability rising in Afghanistan, U.S. power in the region approaching its apex and Pakistan appearing increasingly hostile, this World Politics Review special report examines the Afghanistan War through articles published in the past year. Below are links to each article in this special report, which subscribers can read in full. Subscribers can also download a .pdf version of this report. Not a subscriber? Purchase this report on Kindle or as a .pdf from Scribd. Or subscribe now. U.S. Strategy Obama’s Fragile Afghanistan Strategy By Nikolas Gvosdev January 14, 2011 Long-Term U.S. Presence in Afghanistan a Mistake By Thomas P.M. […]