CONFLICT DIARIES

CONFLICT DIARIES

By reaching out to Taliban, Iran makes presence felt in Afghanistan apart...


The very nature of the conflict in Afghanistan has made it almost impossible for the neighbouring countries to remain aloof from it or maintain some distance, even a calculated one. For one thing, the conflict is no... More

How the Taliban have become leading actor in Afghan peace talks


While the Taliban have established their domination both politically and militarily in almost half of Afghanistan, the consequent talks with the US and the way they have progressed show that they are already in a commanding position.... More

US withdrawal from Afghanistan showcases India’s hollow Afghan policy


When Donald Trump recently mocked India for building a library in Afghanistan, it signified a lot more than the fact that India is not fighting the Taliban as a US ally; it showed the actual limited presence... More

How Pakistan is negotiating the Afghan terrain after US announcement to withdraw...


In the last week of December, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi visited Afghanistan, Iran, China and Russia to discuss the ongoing Afghan peace process. The visit was in the wake of Pakistan brokering peace talks between... More

An all-out US defeat in Afghanistan is on the horizon


The politico-military structure that the US built in Afghanistan after forcing the Taliban out of power is shaking from its cores, facing an imminent destruction. The failure of this structure wouldn’t just mean failure of one of... More

With Afghan elections in April, Ghani regime caught in a bind as...


Notwithstanding the importance of the on-going talks between the Afghan Taliban and the US and the participation of the former in the recently-held Moscow summit on Afghanistan, there is a stark absence of the Afghan government in... More

Trump’s melodrama vis-à-vis Pakistan meets ground realities


The Trump administration's renewed push to seek Pakistan's help in bringing the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table comes as a striking contrast to what the US president had only very recently said in one of his... More

India’s dead-end Afghan policy


While India has been investing in Afghanistan for several years, the changing dynamics of the Afghan war indicate that this economic, political and diplomatic investment may not yield the desired results after all. First and foremost, India’s... More

US-Pakistan relations enter new phase of deterioration over Afghanistan and Taliban


US President Donald Trump’s blatant ‘game of accusations’ vis-à-vis Pakistan regarding the latter’s alleged role in hiding Osama bin Laden and “doing nothing” to help America in Afghanistan has led Pak-US ties into a new phase of... More

India’s limited life-line in Afghanistan


While India continues to plan to expand its foothold in Afghanistan, using its alliance with the United States as its main source of support, and has also developed a seemingly strong relationship with Kabul, a close reading... More

Afghanistan: The big story of massive aid waste


There are ghost soldiers; ghost police officers; ghost clinics and even ghost patients in Afghanistan. There are billions of dollars spent on papers, but there is very little on the ground. As such, despite spending billions on... More

China’s discreet headway into Afghanistan


While China continues officially to deny playing a leading role in managing conflict in Afghanistan, there is also no gainsaying that China continues to make a meaningful headway into Afghanistan, a development that would, even if Beijing... More

Taliban are talking from a position of strength


While the US-Taliban talks are of paramount importance in terms of bringing the 17 years old war to an end, there remains little to deny that even after fighting this war for such a long period and... More

As Taliban influence grows, dialogue without regional consensus won’t do much in...


The importance of the US-Taliban direct dialogue notwithstanding, it remains unclear as to what substantial outcome this will produce without a political and geo-political consensus supporting it. On the one hand, the US is facing opposition from... More

Pompeo claims to “reset” ties with Pakistan but makes India “strategic partner”


Just few days before the arrival of the US Secretary of the State, Mike Pompeo, in Pakistan, the US officially cancelled US$300 million aid to Pakistan, signaling the acute low health of Pak-US ties. Then came Mike... More

Why Zalmay Khalilzad might be a bad choice for Taliban negotiations


The appointment of Zalmay Khalilzad as special adviser on Afghanistan has caused consternation in the region for obvious reasons: he is among several veterans who supported the then US President George Bush’s attack on Afghanistan to topple... More

Taliban seeks legitimacy by reforming itself as prospects of returning to power...


While the war in Afghanistan has changed many things over the past 17 years, the most noticeable transformation has been the return of the Taliban to legitimacy, transforming from being “terrorists” allied with Al Qaeda religious extremists... More

Saudi investment in CPEC will deepen Pak ties with Riyadh and Beijing...


Pakistan has officially invited Saudi Arabia to not only invest in the geo-economically celebrated China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) but also be a strategic partner, deepening considerable strategic convergence on economic as well as geo-political issues. The immediate reason... More

Divergence with the US brings Pakistan & Iran closer, but not close...


Notwithstanding the not-so-warm past, the fact that Iran’s foreign minister is the first foreign dignitary to visit the newly established government of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) itself signifies the shifting regional dynamics of bi-lateral relations against the changing... More

New regional configurations taking lead in Afghanistan war


About two weeks ago Pakistan reportedly hosted spy-chiefs of Russia, China and Iran to formulate a joint policy and a platform for extended co-operation in Afghanistan against the rising threat of the Islamic State in Khorasan (IS-K)... More

The learned and not learned lessons from Afghanistan


While the most regular and most reported feature of life in Afghanistan remains the US ‘war on terror’ and the way this war continues to wreck havoc every now and then, killing thousands every year, there is... More

COLUMN

By reaching out to Taliban, Iran makes presence felt in Afghanistan...

The very nature of the conflict in Afghanistan has made it almost impossible for the neighbouring countries to remain aloof from it or maintain some distance, even a calculated one. For one thing, the conflict is no longer just between the US and Taliban or the US and al-Qaeda. The ISIS, known as IS-K in Afghanistan, has established its presence, which has forced many countries—Russia, China and Iran—to change... More

The sorry state of Pakistan’s police

The imperial form of police infrastructure that Pakistan inherited was deliberately created to serve the British rulers rather than promote harmony, security and adherence to the law. The 1861 Police Act has never changed except for minor amendments. Even the new laws introduced by the provinces retain more or less the essence of the original imperial law. The persisting culture is to ensure that the weak remain subservient to... More

Bangladesh’s position on global terrorism index has improved: Australian agency CPES

An Australian outfit, Centre for Peace and Economic Studies (CPES), has stated that Bangladesh has gone up four positions in the global terrorism index, according to it’s ranking. Several other countries in South Asia have gone down in terms of vulnerability, including Pakistan and India. Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka have also improved their standings in this index. CPES has reported that introduction of modern education in madrassas, investment in... More

How the Taliban have become leading actor in Afghan peace talks

While the Taliban have established their domination both politically and militarily in almost half of Afghanistan, the consequent talks with the US and the way they have progressed show that they are already in a commanding position. They certainly have become the leading actor in these talks not just because they are the ones fighting the war against the US and Afghan forces, but also because they are directing... More

Exploiting Pakistan’s ‘Gold Coast’

The emerging markets of Central Asia require that a sea-land (south-south) dimension to support the north-south axis be added for expansion, otherwise all facilities and opportunities are likely to be clogged because of unplanned urban population expansion. The long coastline with stretches of virgin beaches and adjacent vast empty hinterland require well-planned commercial exploitation. It is personally satisfying that recommendations made in my articles of nearly three decades ago,... More

VIDEO-INTERVIEW

OUTCOME AND FUTURE OF BMISTEC? & WHAT’S ON THE BALANCE?


The fourth summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), held in Kathmandu on August 30 and 31, was “not fruitful” because of the inherent “weakness” of the regional inter-state institution,... More

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