Showing posts with label AfPak. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AfPak. Show all posts

18 July 2018

CPEC And Pakistan-China Energy Cooperation – OpEd

By Venita Christopher*

The demands of global energy are substantially rising day by day in the 21st century, whereas the dependency on fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas have become a serious concern which is about 80% of the world’s primary source of energy. The concerns about fossil fuels are due to their ever rising prices and their negative impact on the environment due to the harmful emission of greenhouse gases. Therefore, in this context the reliance on nuclear power energy is considered by various countries, including Pakistan, as a good alternative option of energy supply, which is comparatively cheaper also.

17 July 2018

When We Raised Taxes to Fund Wars

By JERROD A. LABER

On Saturday, July 7, Army Corporal Joseph Maciel was killed in Afghanistan during an attack at the Tarin Kowt airfield in Uruzgan province. He was 20 years old, meaning that when the war began in October 2001, he was a toddler. You can be forgiven for not having noticed Maciel’s death, as media coverage of America’s presence in Afghanistan is fairly hard to come by. The Afghanistan war has held the moniker of “the forgotten war” for more than a decade now, having originally been presented with the honor as all eyes turned to Iraq during the mid-2000s. It received somewhat renewed attention last August when President Trump announced a new strategy for the war. But the spectacle that is the Trump presidency, combined with the sheer length of the conflict, has again relegated it to the back of America’s consciousness. A recent Pentagon press briefing on Afghanistan was attended by fewer than 10 journalists.

Blackwater founder makes new pitch for mercenaries to take over Afghan war

by Justin Wise 
Erik Prince, the founder of the private security firm formerly known as Blackwater, is making a new pitch for his proposal to turn U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan over to mercenaries. Price promoted the plan in a YouTube video released Tuesday that coincided with the recent NATO summit in Belgium. “The Pentagon does what it does and wanted to keep doing the same thing it has done for the last 17 years,” Prince said in the video. He said CIA officers and 6,000 mercenaries should take charge in the conflict. Prince also said that President Trump has “stayed the course” in Afghanistan so far and that continuing a conventional war in the region is “reckless and it’s irresponsible.”

16 July 2018

The Indus Waters Treaty: an exemplar of cooperation


The Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 shows how international mediation can be instrumental in reaching an agreement between India and Pakistan. With this in mind, India and Pakistan should use the treaty as a model to negotiate, cooperate and resolve other ongoing issues as well, writes Saud Sultan. With the partition of the Indian Subcontinent in 1947, the Indus basin was also divided into two parts, with the upstream riparian (the area surrounding the river and its banks) belonging to India and the downstream belonging to Pakistan. Although the Boundary Commission Awards of 1947 demarcated the boundary between Pakistan and India, it did not define how the waters of the Indus system of rivers would be used by the two new dominions. Therefore, it was left to the governments of India and Pakistan to decide how this water would be shared. (see Gulhati, 1973, p.56-57)

Pakistani Taliban: Mullah Fazlullah’s Death Revives Mehsud Clan Fortunes

By: Farhan Zahid
Mullah Fazlullah, the notorious Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) emir, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in June, along with four of his commanders, in the Marawar district of Kunar province in eastern Afghanistan (Tolo News, June 15). With Fazlullah gone, the group will likely change direction under the leadership of its new emir, Noor Wali Mehsud. Since taking over as TTP leader in 2013, Fazlullah has planned a relentless series of terrorist operations in Pakistan from his base in neighboring Afghanistan. Under his command, however, the group was unable to remain the efficient terrorist organization it had been under the previous two emirs, Baitullah and Hakimullah Mehsud. While Fazlullah was known for a series of ruthless acts of terrorism in Pakistan—including instigating the 2007 and 2009 Islamist insurgencies in Pakistan’s Malakand Division, ordering the attempted assassination of Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai in 2012 and masterminding the shocking killing of school children at the Army Public School in Peshawar in December 2014—on his watch, factions splintered from the group and a series of TTP commanders joined with Islamic State’s (IS) Afghan chapter, IS-Khorasan.

Why America Should Let Its Rivals Play the Great Game in Afghanistan

By Jim Kane

Afghanistan has long occupied a contentious position between larger powers across South Asia. According to General John Nicholson, the Commander of all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, the Russian government is arming the Taliban insurgency. Pakistan, too, arms the Taliban to ensure Afghan weakness and limit Indian influence. Iran, for its part, arms the Shia Hazara and western Taliban in Afghanistan and cooperates closely with the Russians to undermine U.S. interests. China has gained a foothold in Afghanistan through mining operations and military operations on Afghan soil while working closely with Pakistan to build an overland trade route to the Arabian Sea.

Is China Influencing Pakistan’s Elections?

By Muhammad Akbar Notezai

As an emerging power in the region, China is closely watching the developments taking place in the South Asia region. It is in China’s best interests to have friendly governments in neighboring countries, and to a large extent, Beijing is succeeding. China has been meticulously working to attract South Asian countries, big and small alike, by all means. One of China’s friendliest neighbors is Pakistan. When al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was assassinated by U.S. forces on May 2, 2011 in Pakistan’s garrison city of Abbotabad, Pakistan put all its eggs in China’s basket. As a result of this paradigm shift, Pakistan has put the highest priority on its friendship with China. For Pakistan, whether China can replace the United States or not is a separate debate, but one thing is sure: since 2011, China has increased its presence in the country, as seen most readily in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the multibillion-dollar project announced in 2014.

15 July 2018

This mess we’re in

Tariq Khosa

PAKISTAN today suffers from a crisis of governance. The radical right is ascendant. Institutional decay is advanced; the state’s writ is eroded. We soon go to the polls in a divisive, belligerent and to a great extent despondent environment. It is time for serious reflection and introspection. In the past decade, our governments have been unable to produce a comprehensive national security policy. Instead of strategic, visionary long-term policies for both external and internal security challenges, there was a reliance on short-term, tactical (ie reactionary) responses to a myriad challenges on account of economic mismanagement, corruption and a convoluted policy of using religious extremists as tools of the invisible state. This mess can only be cleared through an effective charter of governance based on security and justice.

It Still Doesn’t Get Worse Than Afghanistan

BY STEPHEN M. WALT

What’s the dumbest aspect of contemporary U.S. foreign and defense policy? There’s no shortage of worthy candidates: the fruitless pursuit of strategic missile defense, which has costmore than $200 billion since the 1980s but still can’t provide convincing protection against even a nuclear pipsqueak like North Korea; President Donald Trump’s foolish flirtation with a global trade war, and especially his transparently comical claim that imports from Canada — Canada? — constitute some sort of national security threat; or even the blank check the United States has given its various Middle East allies to interfere in places such as Yemen, mostly unsuccessfully. And don’t get me started on Trump’s handling of North Korea or Iran.

13 July 2018

Too little, too late: The mainstreaming of Pakistan’s tribal regions

KRITI M. SHAH

Situated in the northwest part of Pakistan, along the Afghanistan border, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas or FATA is one of the most dangerous places in the world and has been the home-base for jihad and terrorism in South Asia. Governed by colonial era laws, and damaged by militancy and military operations, FATA residents remain second-class citizens, treated differently from the rest of Pakistan. This paper looks at the government's recent push to mainstream FATA and what it will mean for militancy in the region.

12 July 2018

Pakistan’s Financial Crisis Puts Belt And Road On The Spot – Analysis


By James M. Dorsey

Increased Pakistani dependence on China to help it avert resorting to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to avoid a financial and economic crisis spotlights fears that the terms of Chinese investment in massive Belt and Road-related projects would not pass international muster. Concerns that China’s US$ 50 billion plus investment in Pakistani infrastructure and energy, the Belt and Road’s crown jewel dubbed the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), potentially amounts to a debt trap, compound suggestions that Pakistan increasingly will have no choice but to toe Beijing’s line. The concerns are reinforced by the vision spelled out in a draft plan for CPEC. The plan envisioned a dominant Chinese role In Pakistan’s economy as well as the creation of a Chinese style surveillance state and significant Chinese influence in Pakistani influence.

Pompeo In Unannounced Visit To Kabul, Urges Peace Talks With Taliban



(RFE/RL) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Taliban fighters to hold peace talks with the Afghan government, as he made an unannounced visit to the Afghan capital.
Pompeo’s July 9 trip — his first since becoming secretary of state– coincided with what officials hope will be a final operation to clear Islamic State fighters and other insurgents in a remote district in the eastern Nangarhar Province. Around 14,000 U.S. troops are currently stationed in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led mission, while also carrying out counterterrorism operations targeting Islamic State (IS) militants and Al-Qaeda. That was a clear sign of U.S. commitment, Pompeo said at a news conference alongside Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

The secret story of how America lost the drug war with the Taliban

By JOSH MEYER

As Afghanistan edged ever closer to becoming a narco-state five years ago, a team of veteran U.S. officials in Kabul presented the Obama administration with a detailed plan to use U.S. courts to prosecute the Taliban commanders and allied drug lords who supplied more than 90 percent of the world’s heroin — including a growing amount fueling the nascent opioid crisis in the United States. The plan, according to its authors, was both a way of halting the ruinous spread of narcotics around the world and a new — and urgent — approach to confronting ongoing frustrations with the Taliban, whose drug profits were financing the growing insurgency and killing American troops. But the Obama administration’s deputy chief of mission in Kabul, citing political concerns, ordered the plan to be shelved, according to a POLITICO investigation.

11 July 2018

Can China Mediate Between Pakistan and India?

By Samuel Ramani

On June 29, 2018, the deputy chief of the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad, Lijian Zhao, told reporters that China was holding talks with Indian officials on the de-escalation of bilateral tensions between India and Pakistan. Zhao justified China’s support for an India-Pakistan rapprochement by stating that both countries would benefit greatly from suspending their arms buildups, and participating in joint economic development initiatives. 

Although Zhao’s calls for improved India-Pakistan relations were met with skepticism in India, China has assumed an increasingly important role in the preservation of stability in South Asia. At last month’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized the importance of “unity” among the organization’s members, when he welcomed Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the gathering. On June 20, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang described India and Pakistan as China’s neighbors and friends. This statement prompted speculation that China would host a trilateral dialogue between itself, India, and Pakistan on regional security.

Billions of Dollars Wasted on a Fight Which We Should Have Won: The secret story of how America lost the drug war with the Taliban

Josh Meyer

As Afghanistan edged ever closer to becoming a narco-state five years ago, a team of veteran U.S. officials in Kabul presented the Obama administration with a detailed plan to use U.S. courts to prosecute the Taliban commanders and allied drug lords who supplied more than 90 percent of the world’s heroin — including a growing amount fueling the nascent opioid crisis in the United States. The plan, according to its authors, was both a way of halting the ruinous spread of narcotics around the world and a new — and urgent — approach to confronting ongoing frustrations with the Taliban, whose drug profits were financing the growing insurgency and killing American troops. But the Obama administration’s deputy chief of mission in Kabul, citing political concerns, ordered the plan to be shelved, according to a POLITICO investigation.

The U.S. Mission in Afghanistan Is Not Making Us Safer—It’s Time to Bring It to an End

by Daniel L. Davis

At his confirmation hearing to be the 17 th U.S. Commander in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Austin Miller told senators he could not say when the war would end, but claimed the mission “is about protecting U.S. citizens,” by preventing Afghanistan from being used as a platform to attack America. The obvious reality, however, is that the mission has nothing to do with that goal. As someone who served two combat tours in Afghanistan, it is especially difficult to watch as Lt. Gen. Miller follows the seemingly identical script used by the parade of generals who have preceded him. All claim we have to “win” in Afghanistan, because if we don’t, they imply, we’ll suffer another orchestrated attack on the homeland. These claims rest on two assumptions, both of which are demonstrably false.

10 July 2018

Afghanistan: Technocrats vs. Warlords

By Ahmad Shah Katawazai

In Afghanistan’s Faryab province, protesters stormed the national intelligence agency’s offices in the city of Maimana, looted the provincial governor’s compound, and burned several vehicles. The protests happened after the arrest of a powerful warlord and commander, Nezamuddin Qaisari, who is loyal to Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum. Qaisari was arrested after he allegedly threatened to kill people at a provincial security meeting. Qaisari is the provincial representative of fellow ethnic Uzbeks. He is closely affiliated with Dostum, who fled to Turkey last year after he was accused of being involved in the rape and torture of a political rival. Dostum warned the removal of Qaisari could worsen insecurity in Faryab, where government forces are fighting the Taliban and Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISKP).

Hezbollah’s Missiles and Rockets


The Issue 

Hezbollah is the world’s most heavily armed non-state actor, with a large and diverse stockpile of unguided artillery rockets, as well as ballistic, antiair, antitank, and antiship missiles.  Hezbollah views its rocket and missile arsenal as its primary deterrent against Israeli military action, while also useful for quick retaliatory strikes and longer military engagements. Hezbollah’s unguided rocket arsenal has increased significantly since the 2006 Lebanon War, and the party’s increased role in the Syrian conflict raises concerns about its acquisition of more sophisticated standoff and precision-guided missiles, whether from Syria, Iran, or Russia. This brief provides a summary of the acquisition history, capabilities, and use of these forces. 

Afghanistan: Technocrats vs. Warlords

By Ahmad Shah Katawazai

In Afghanistan’s Faryab province, protesters stormed the national intelligence agency’s offices in the city of Maimana, looted the provincial governor’s compound, and burned several vehicles. The protests happened after the arrest of a powerful warlord and commander, Nezamuddin Qaisari, who is loyal to Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum. Qaisari was arrested after he allegedly threatened to kill people at a provincial security meeting. Qaisari is the provincial representative of fellow ethnic Uzbeks. He is closely affiliated with Dostum, who fled to Turkey last year after he was accused of being involved in the rape and torture of a political rival. Dostum warned the removal of Qaisari could worsen insecurity in Faryab, where government forces are fighting the Taliban and Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISKP).

IN PAKISTAN’S CURRENCY CRISIS, CHINA IS THE PROBLEM AND THE SOLUTION

BY TOM HUSSAIN

A last-ditch Chinese loan may have temporarily rescued Pakistan from a foreign exchange reserves crisis, but experts say Islamabad’s growing dependence on Beijing has become as much a liability as it is an asset. The US$1 billion emergency loan released in the last week of June boosted Pakistan’s reserves enough to cover two months of imports, which have reached unsustainably high levels largely – and ironically – because of Islamabad’s commitment to the Belt and Road Initiative, Beijing’s plan to link Eurasia in a China-centred trading network.