Archive for the ‘Af-Pak War’ Category

US Military Suspends Joint Operations in Afg.

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

The video “The Innocence of Muslims” sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world for its negative portrayal of Muhammad and the story of his life. In the wake of the reaction to this video, Western forces in Afghanistan have suspended all operations with Afghan forces for fear of more “green on blue attacks”. In recent years and especially in recent months, the number of foreign troops purposefully killed by Afghan soldiers and police have grown exponentially. The so called green on blue attacks are reported to be carried out by the Taliban as a new military tactic as well as disgruntled Afghan personnel who are unhappy with the NATO military presence. In addition to the video, many in Afghanistan are still infuriated by the alleged burning of Korans by US forces last spring. This suspension poses a concerning risk to the relatively new and undeveloped Afghan forces as NATO continues it’s gradual drawdown. Although the impact is yet to be felt by the American and Afghan militaries, it is clear that the suspension will inevitably alter the way in which the war is fought. Many Afghan and US military personnel worry that the suspension may lead to a break down in communication.

Discussion Question: After the burning of the Korans and the anti-Islam video, can the US improve it’s image in the eyes of the Afghan people?If so, what specifically can it do?


The New York Times

Review Ahmed Rashid’s New Book

Monday, April 16th, 2012

The Economist reviews Ahmed Rashid’s latest book: Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Viking: 2012.

Excerpt from the review:

“His [Rashid's] main worry is the armed forces, which consume the lion’s share of state resources and have imposed disastrous policies. These include a hostile foreign policy towards neighbouring countries; abetting violent extremists who threaten opponents abroad and risk ripping apart Pakistan itself and building an arsenal of nuclear weapons which may not be secure, if for example, the army itself were one day to split in two. Worse, he sees the Inter Services Intelligence agency, the main military spy network, becoming a ‘state within a state’, with the spies in effect getting control of the army, and thus having an unhealthy sway over other institutions.”

Go to review


The Latest Outrage in Afghanistan

Monday, March 12th, 2012

The describes the massacre in Afghanistan yesterday and reviews other offenses committed by American personnel there in recent months., “Afghanistan: The Horror,” March 12, 2012


Taliban responds to Koran burning

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

In response to the burning of the Koran at a US military base, the Taliban has responded by urging Afghans to attack Western military bases in revenge.  The Taliban’s statements comes after several days of Anti American protests have left at least 12 people dead.  President Karzai has condemned those who burned the books as “ignorant” and “with poor understanding.”  President Obama has officially apologized for the burning and sent an official apology letter to Karzai.  The Taliban has urged the Afghani people to teach the West a lesson for this act.  Do you think the protests in Afghanistan will turn into outright hostility to the US?  Will the people listen to the Taliban?

See the full story here

Can We Talk With the Taliban?

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Steve Coll writes (“Looking for Mullah Omar,” The New Yorker, Jan. 23, 2012, p. 55):

“Even where negotiations to end insurgencies don’t yield a decisive agreement, they nonetheless can reduce violence, spur important defections, or favorably change the contours of a war by altering guerrilla alignments.  The case of international talks to reduce the Darfur conflict is an example of such a partial success.  Even the most ardent guerrilla leaders sometimes reach a time in middle age when hurtling into battle in a pickup truck while dodging enemy bombers loses its appeal.  Although it is difficult to imagine Mullah Omar ever travelling to a five-star hotel in Qatar to negotiate with American diplomats, the lures of legitimacy and political influence may eventually tempt others in the Taliban’s aging leadership.  In the Afghan war, in any event, the United States ran out of attractive options a long time ago.”


Karzai to meet with Taliban

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Afghan President Hamid Karzai will be meeting with representatives of the Taliban to kick off peace talks between the government and the Islamist organization. The Taliban had previously announced that they will be opening an office in Qatar, the first such foreign base for the group. Many observers see both of these developments as positive signs for reconciliation.

Qatar, meanwhile, continues in its success as a regional conciliator. Not to be outdone by its Gulf neighbor, and seeking to retain influence in Afghanistan, a country it has long invested in (most notably in the years of the Soviet invasion), Saudi Arabia will be hosting the Karzai-Taliban talks.


Profile: Gulbiddin Hekmatyar

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

al-Jazeera has published an insightful profile on the long-time Afghan warlord Gulbiddin Hekmatyar. Like many Afghan warlords, Hekmatyar was on the CIA payroll during the Soviet invasion. After being pushed into exile by the Taliban regime in 1997, Hekmatyar returned to Afghanistan in 2002.

U.S.-Pakistan relations

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Article in NYTimes. A sum-up of recent shifts between the two nations.

Kunar Province: A Portent of Things to Come in Afghanistan?

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Is Kunar province, in Northeastern Afghanistan bordering Pakistan’s tribal areas, a sign of the future for Afghanistan? Since US troops pulled out of this area to hand over control to Afghan authorities last year, the Taliban have asserted their presence. The Afghan government has demonstrated little ability to control and protect the population, many of whom took a risk in opposing the Taliban over the last few years.



Should U.S. Ask Russia for Help in Afghanistan?

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

“True, this proposal might seem ironic, as Afghanistan was the site of a nearly decade-long struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union toward the end of the cold war. (During that time, America cooperated with Pakistan to support Afghan mujahedeen fighting the Soviets.) But working with Russia today is in fact the key to preventing the United States from becoming a hostage to Pakistan’s dysfunctional politics and its ambitions in Central Asia.”

Dov S. Zakheim and Paul J. Sanders, “Can Russia Help Us Withdraw From Afghanistan?,” New York Times Op-Ed piece, Dec. 2, 2011