Showing posts with label India. Show all posts
Showing posts with label India. Show all posts

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Heart of Asia Conference - Dec 2016

The Heart of Asia (HoA) conference will be held in December. Over 14 nations across the Central and South Asian region will participate. This conference is of extreme importance to Afghanistan - a nation struggling with a downturn of its economy, development challenges, and deteriorating security situation. Central to the conference will be the extent to which India will continue to increase its economic aid to Afghanistan . . . and, of course, how many obstacles Pakistan will place in the way of real progress. Read more in "Why India must go all out for a stable Kabul", Observer Research Foundation, October 28, 2016.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Security News

Gen Austin - Spinning the Narrative.  The commander of U.S. Central Command, General Lloyd Austin, says that Afghan military is making progress - saying "The Afghans are very capable . . ." Um, okay. If you say so. Read more in "Afghanistan's Security Forces Making Progress, Centcom Says", U.S. DoD, March 2, 2016.

Another Deployment for 3rd Cav. About 1,000 Soldiers from the 3rd Cavalry Regiment will deploy to Afghanistan in the spring of 2016. The Fort Hood Soldiers will be part of a regular rotation of forces in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel. Read more in a news report (Military Times, March 2, 2016).

Two Turks Killed. Two Turkish nationals were killed Saturday in a shooting in Kabul. The police are investigating.

Anniversary of Operation Anaconda. In March 2002 U.S. forces in Afghanistan launched Operation Anaconda to attack al-Qaeda and Taliban forces located in a mountain valley in eastern Afghanistan. Several U.S. servicemen were lost in the battle.

Pakistan Harboring Taliban Leaders? The Pakistani prime minister's adviser on foreign affairs has indicated that the leadership of the Afghan Taliban is living in Pakistan. A bold admission of something that many have accused Pakistan of doing for many years. Read more in "Why did Pakistan admit to hosting the Afghan Taliban?", BBC News, March 3, 2016. Read a related article entitled "Diminishing Control Motivates Pakistan to Assert Taliban Influence", Gandhara Blog, March 3, 2016.

Indian Consulate Attacked. A consulate in Nangarhar was attacked and several militants were killed. Read more in "Afghanistan militants dead in Jalalabad attack", BBC News, March 2, 2016. Civilians were killed and wounded in the attack as well.

Gen Dunford Says . . . . that the Afghans are applying security lessons learned in 2015. (DoD News,  Mar 4, 2016). Dunford was the commander for the International Security Force Afghanistan (ISAF) in 2013-2014. He is now the Chief of the Joint Staff and recently visited Afghanistan for the change of command ceremony for Resolute Support.

Lots of Hats. A recent news article contemplates the different types of hats found among the coalition forces at the Resolute Support base in Kabul. A stroll around the compound will find many styles and colors of berets, Australian bush hats with their unique chin strap, French hats with colorful feathers, and more. Then of course, there is the disconcerting habit of British military of not wearing any hat at all that throws U.S. SGMs into a significant panic attack. Read more in "Hats Point to Diversity, Size of Coalition in Afghanistan", DoDLive, March 3, 2016.

Former Governor Freed. The former governor of Herat province was abducted in Pakistan last month by gunmen and was released by security forces. It seems that the captors were transporting him by auto and they were stopped at a checkpoint. Read more in this news story by Kidnap and Ransom Magazine, February 29, 2016.

Badakhshan Opn Soon? There are news reports saying that the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) will soon be mounting an offensive to clear insurgents out of parts of Badakhshan province. Read more in a news report by Tolo News, March 5, 2016.

Afghan Army Logistics. Philip Lere examines the good and bad of Afghan Army logistics system in "The Coalition, Scarcity and the Afghan Army Logistics System", Small Wars Journal, March 3, 2016.

CIVCAS in Paktia Province? The ANDSF recently (Jan 2016) conducted a multi-agency operation in Zurmat that seems to have caused some civilian casualties. Read more in "The ANSF's Zurmat Operation: Abuses against local civilians", Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN),  March 4, 2016.

Districts Handed to Taliban by Govt? Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah has dismissed speculations about the planned hand over of certain districts to the anti-government armed militant groups. Some districts across the country have been abandoned by the ANDSF and that has led to speculation. Read more in "Abdullah dismiss speculations about planned hand over of districts to militants", Khaama Press, March 3, 2016.

District Falls to Govt Troops. The Afghan National Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) has retaken a district that had been under Taliban control for some time. Operations were launched to retake Dand-e-Ghori district of Baghlan province in late January. One of the side effects of the Taliban occupation of the district was the cutting of power lines providing electricity to Kabul. Read more in "Afghan forces take full control of Dand-e-Ghori in Baghlan from Taliban", Khaama Press, March 3, 2016.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Security News

Kabul Airport Suicide Bombings. A VBIED struck the gates of Kabul airport on Monday morning, January 4th. The driver's suicide vest went off but the explosives in the truck did not. (Reuters, Jan 4, 2016). A second truck bomb attack took place later in the day in the vicinity of the airport - near a contractor's compound. Some reports say that this was Camp Baron.  The Baron Hotel in Kabul (one mile from the international airport) is a nice place to live as a contractor (or visitor) if you can afford it.  Other reports say it was Camp Sullivan - a location that houses U.S. embassy employees and security personnel. Read more on these attacks in "Taliban claim suicide attack on contractor camp in Kabul"Yahoo! News, January 5, 2016.

U.S. Embassy Low-Balling Compound Damage? The second truck bomb caused extensive structural damage against the outer wall and inside wall of the compound. Over 30 people were injured including nine children. There were also a number of deaths - but the U.S. embassy seems to be mum about the entire incident. Read more in "Is the U.S. Embassy in Kabul the next Benghazi?", Project on Government Oversight (POGO), January 7, 2016.

Bombed French Restaurant Update. See "Taliban target was a pricey French restaurant, but their victims were Afghans"Los Angeles Times, January 2, 2016.

Winter Offensive. "Afghanistan's mountainous terrain and heavy snowfall have traditionally prompted a winter lull in fighting, with the militants using the colder months to rest and regroup ahead of an annual spring offensive". Frud Bezhan tells us about the Taliban's fighting during the 'winter lull' in "The Taliban's Rare Winter Offensive in Afghanistan", Radio Free Europe, January 8, 2016.

Map of Taliban Control. The year 2015 saw the Taliban controlling more territory than at any other time in the 14 year long conflict (U.S. involvement) since 2001. The Afghan National Defense  and Security Forces (ANDSF) have been pummeled by the insurgents and significant areas of Afghanistan are now under Taliban control. Read more in "Mapped: The Taliban Surged in 2015, but ISIS is Moving In on Its Turf", Foreign Policy, January 4, 2016.

Mi-17 Crash. On Sunday, January 3rd an Afghan Air Force (AAF) Mi-17 helicopter crashed south of Kabul killing 3 Afghan soldiers. The crash took place in the Mohammad Agha district of Logar province. Reports indicate that the chopper was on a training day time flight. (Pajhwok Afghan News, Jan 3, 2016).

General's Convoy Attacked. A convoy carrying a German general was hit in a suicide car-bomb attack near the Kabul airport this past Monday. (Daily Mail, Jan 4, 2016).

Helmand Province. The 215th Maiwand Military Corps commander, MG Mohammad Moin Faqir, says that the security situation in Helmand should improve slowly over time. He says that widespread poppy cultivation and drug trafficking fuels insecurity and provides revenue to the Taliban. The general says that recent operations helped secure several of the provinces districts to include Marjah. Representatives of the Afghan Local Police dispute this claim saying the road from the provincial capital to the district of Marjah is not secured. Read more in "Helmand security to improve soon, says military commander", Pajhwok Afghan News, January 8, 2016.

Provincial HPC Chief Shot Dead. Qari Saifuddin Sadat, the chief of the High Peace Council for the northern province of Samangan was killed on Tuesday, January 5th.

Celebration Fires. On January 6th Kabul erupted with lots of weapons firing into the air on the occasion of the Afghan cricket team defeating Zimbabwe. There seems to be a lack of understanding of what goes up will eventually come down. Some good ammo wasted that could have been better used at some police district centers in Helmand province.

IS & Taliban Fight. Three districts of Nangarhar province are seeing intense fighting between groups of the Islamic State and the Taliban. The usual winter break in the fighting is not being observed very well this year.

Special Anti-IS Force. The Afghan army is forming up a special battalion (kandak) comprised of about 750 former Afghan army members to fight the Islamic State in the eastern part of Afghanistan. They will be based at the 201st Corps headquarters in Laghman province. The base is just a few klics from the Nangarhar province border - where IS is operating. (Voice of America, Jan 6, 2016).

Indian Consulate Attacked in MeS. The consulate for India was attacked in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif on January 3, 2016. No Indian fatalities were reported among the staff and it appears the gunmen were unsuccessful in breaching the security of the consulate. It took a few days for Afghan commandos to dislodge some of the attackers from a house near the consulate compound. All three attackers were killed as well as one (maybe two) Afghan policeman. Some reports say there were four attackers and that the incident lasted 25 hours; not a few days. See "Siege Ends Near Indian Consulate in Northern Afghanistan", Gandhara Blog, January 5, 2016.

Taliban Review 2015. The Taliban has disseminated what some are calling a progress report on its 2015 activities. Read more in "Taliban Claims Large Swath of Afghan Territory During 2015", Voice of America, January 2, 2016.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Security News

ANASF prepare for wpns training
Attack on Spanish Embassy Guesthouse. Some more fidelity on the attack on Friday, December 11th. The guesthouse, belonging occupied by Spanish Embassy personnel in the Sher Pur part of Kabul was attacked with a car bomb against the gate and the gunmen rushed inside. The event took place for many hours until the last gunman was killed.

India - Pak - Afg Meeting. Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah met with the Pakistan COAS Raheel Sharif in Kabul on Sunday, December 27th. This follows a flurry of meetings involving the head of the India government who first visted Kabul and then Islamabad. Are peace talks in the air? Maybe. But I doubt much will come of it. Read more on the recent meetings and prospects for peace in "The Observer view on India's role in bringing peace to Afghanistan", The Guardian, December 27, 2015.

French Restaurant Bombed. On January 1st a restaurant / guest house (Le Jardin) in Kabul's Qalai Fatullah area (Taimani PD4) was attacked; two people killed including a 10 year old child killed - about 15 others wounded It is in the vicinity of many foreign embassies and government buildings.

Bombers Experience a Premature Explosion. Three (maybe four) bombers had a bad day when their truck bomb blew up ahead of schedule in the Zer-e-Koh area of Herat on Saturday, January 2nd. (Khaama Press, Jan 2, 2016).

Child Suicide Bombers. "Terrorists in Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries are training children to blow themselves up in suicide bomb attacks. Minors are kidnapped or sold and then taken to terrorist training camps". Read more in "Children used as suicide bombers in Central Asia", Deutsche Welle, December 30, 2015.

Prisoners Freed by ANDSF. Afghan Special Forces freed dozens of prisoners (as many as 59) from a Taliban jail in Nahr-e-Saraj district, Helmand province the evening of January 1st. The freed were 37 soldiers, seven policemen, and the remainder were civilians. (Radio Free Europe, Jan 2, 2016).

Al-Qaeda Re-emerges. Al-Qaeda camps seem to be sprouting up in Afghanistan and there are worries that they will become breeding grounds for more attacks against the U.S. Read "As U.S. Focuses on ISIS and the Taliban, Al Qaeda Re-emerges", The New York Times, December 29, 2015. Read a history of U.S. action against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan over the years in "ISAF raids against al Qaeda and allies in Afghanistan 2007-2014", by Bill Roggio and Patrick Megahan, The Long War Journal, May 30, 2014.

Bagram Long-Term US Base? Some reports say that the Pentagon is looking to keep Bagram Air Field as a US base beyond 2017. This huge US base located 40 klics north of Kabul has been one of the principle transit hubs, logistical centers, and airfields (for air support) since 2002. The US Special Operations forces continue to operate from this base as well. Drones will likely be launched from here when Kandahar and Jalalabad shut down. (Tolo News, Dec 29, 2015).

Campbell: Delay Withdrawal. General Campbell, the commander of the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, would like to delay the US troop withdrawal for as long as possible. (The Hill Blog, Dec 30, 2015).

Canadian General (Rtd) Speaks Out. A retired Canadian general says the Taliban's recent victories in Afghanistan could reverse progress made by western armies during more than a decade of fighting. "We're all holding our breath". (Edmonton Sun, Dec 28, 2015).

ANA Cadets Graduate from Indian Military Academy. 31 Afghan Army cadets graduated from the Indian Military Academy in December. Training the Afghan Army cadets is part of India's rehabilitation support towards the Afghan security forces. (Khaama Press, Dec 13, 2015).

Sunday, November 29, 2015


Reasons Not to Use Local Proxies. Joshua Foust argues against the use of local proxies by the United States in advancing U.S. national interests - as in the training, equipping, and advising the Iraqi and Afghan security forces. Can't say I agree with him. My thoughts are that we were (and are) less than successful in the 'use of proxies' not because of a bad strategy or policy but because of 1) poor execution - bureaucratic processes, poor selection and training of advisors, etc. and 2) a lack of political will to hold our 'proxies' leadership accountable - as in Malaki in Iraq (Shia Sunni divide) and Karzai in Afghanistan (corruption and nepotism). Read more in "The Local Proxy Problem", Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), November 22, 2015.

Kabul's Street Politics. The recent kidnapping and beheading of Hazara civilians taken off a bus in Zabul sparked massive street protests in Kabul. Some observers look at this as a new development - where Afghans take to the streets to advocate for issues. Read more in "Kabul's New Street Politics", Foreign Affairs, by Robert D. Crews, November 26, 2015.

Stability Operations in 21st Century. An article by Steven A. Zyck and Robert Muggah looks at the relationship between security and development in stabilization environments in their article "Preparing Stabilisation for 21st Century Security Challenges", Stability: International Journal of Security & Development, November 2015.

Security Assistance & Importance of Governance. Two critics look at the failures of U.S. security assistance and cooperation programs (Africa, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan) and provide their thoughts. Read "Ignoring Governance Puts Military Aid in Peril", Security Assistance Monitor, November 19, 2015.

Optimism Ending in Afghanistan. "Fifty-seven percent of Afghans say their country is heading in the wrong direction, the most pessimistic view recorded in 10 years of the Asia Foundation's annual survey of Afghan's attitudes. Unemployment and insecurity are the main causes for a sharp fall this year in public optimism . . . " Read more in "In Afghanistan, and End to Optimism?", by Gopal Ratnam, United States Institute of Peace (USIP), November 20, 2015.

Frustrated Afghans are Leaving. New public opinion data shows the governance shortcomings of Afghanistan's National Unity Government and the countries citizens are frustrated and opting for a better life outside of Afghanistan. Read "Why Afghanistan's Citizens Are Frustrated . . . And Leaving", The Diplomat, November 24, 2015.

Paper on Authoritarian COIN. David H. Ucko, an associate professor at the College of International Security Affairs (CISA), National Defense University, and an adjunct research fellow at the Department of War Studies, King's College London, has wrote a paper entitled "'The People are Revolting': An Anatomy of Authoritarian Counterinsurgency", The Journal of Strategic Studies, November 2015.

Will Taliban Fragment? The Taleban movement has entered its third decade and has held up as an organization. While there have been rifts within the organization - especially after the announcement of the death of Mullah Omar - they do not pose a great threat to the insurgent organization. Read more in "Toward Fragmentation? Mapping the post-Omar Taleban", by Borhan Osman, Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN),  November 24, 2015.

India - Afghanistan Relations? "Recent developments in the India-Afghanistan bilateral relationship suggests a major shift may be afoot." President Ghani got off to a rough start with his attempt to open a dialogue with Pakistan on security issues and to restart the peace process. This temporary situation was finally reversed when Ghani found Pakistan less than sincere. Now the move to India is back on - but with a 'lost year' to make up for. Read more in "A Turning Point in Afghanistan-India Relations?", by Ankit Panda, The Diplomat, November 24, 2015.

Understanding Motives in Afghan Drug Trade. In a lengthy article, Mathilde Simon helps us understand the evolution of the drug trade in Afghanistan and Afghan farmers' decision to grow opium poppies. Once this is understood - efforts can be devised to provide alternatives to Afghan farmers. Read "The Drug Trade in Afghanistan: Understanding Motives Behind Farmers' Decision to Cultivate Opium Poppies", Foreign Policy Journal, November 27, 2015.

More on India and Afghanistan. Read "What is the State of Afghanistan's Relationship with India?", The Diplomat, November 25, 2015.

UK SDSR 2015. The Brits have released the Strategic Defense and Security Review (SDSR) 2015. Read some comments. (Think Defence, November 2015). See also a report by, November 23, 2015.

Origins of the Durand Line. This border, negotiated in an agreement between the Emirate of Afghanistan and British India, divides the Pashtun tribal regions. Pasthunistan, as this area is informally known, also resulted in the loss of Baluchistan to British India - depriving Afghanistan of its historic access to the Arabian Sea. The Durand Line has been a source of conflict between Afghanistan and Pakistan to the present day and is an issue that remains unsettled to this day. Read more in "Afghanistan and Pakistan: The Poisoned Legacy of the Durand Line", by Joseph V. Micallef, The World Post, November 21, 2015.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Regional News and Issues

"Why Afghanistan Needs Pakistan". James Creighton, a former U.S. brigade commander (with two Afghan deployments) and currently the chief operating officer of the EastWest Institute, tells us why it is a good thing the Afghan president is reaching out to Pakistan. Read his June 22nd article in The Diplomat. Another "Afghan expert", Michael Kugelman - senior program associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center, sheds light in a 13-minute video on the 'false spring' between Pakistan and Afghanistan (The Diplomat, July 1, 2015). In addition, read "Ashraf Ghani's Pakistan Outreach: Fighting against the odds"United States Institute of Peace, June 29, 2015. A former U.S. envoy (Ryan Crocker) says that Pakistan needs to start cracking down on the Afghan Taliban (the "good Taliban) and to start a new cooperative relationship with Afghanistan. (Gandhara Blog, Jul 4, 2015).

Balochistan. Pakistan is not without its own insurgent problems - read about the Baloch insurgency south of Afghanistan's border (The Diplomat, Jun 24, 2015).

Christine Fair and Playing Make-Believe with Pakistani Military. Fair, a critic of the U.S. support of Pakistan, recounts her experiences with the Pakistani Army. (Defense One, Jul 2, 2015).

Charting Pakistan's Internal Security Policy. The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has published a special report by Raza Rumi dated May 2015 worth reviewing.

Iran and the Taliban. There have been rumblings in the media that Iran has stepped up its ties with the Taliban. According to The Wall Street Journal the Shiite nation has quietly boosted ties with the Sunni militant group and is now recruiting and training its fighters. See a report by Margherita Stancati entitled "Iran Backs Taliban With Cash and Arms".

Role of China and India in Afghan Stability. The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) offers up research on the role to two major nations in Afghan regional stability. See a 24 June 2015 report. China is attempting to set up a mining operation in Logar province at the Mes Aynak mine but a 5,000-year-old Afghan historic site is there as well - holding up the progress (Newsweek, Jul 1, 2015). Karl Eikenberry (former cdr and ambassador in Afg) writes on the importance of China and the future of Afghanistan (Asia Foundation, Jul 8, 2015). Tini Tran also weighs in on the China factor (Asia Foundation, Jul 8, 2015).

TAPI Pipeline. The Silk Road Reporters newsletter provides an update on the TAPI pipeline that will transit central and south Asia.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Inter-Twined Relationships for Afghanistan

Afghanistan has entered a new era. The United States and its allies are slowly departing and taking a lot of its financial aid with it. The country has a new president who will hopefully bring a more responsive and legitimate government to the forefront, eliminate corruption (a major source of discontent among the population and recruiting issue for the insurgency), reinvigorate the economy, and establish better security by defeating the Taliban.To accomplish this he needs the support and cooperation of competing regional powers - including Pakistan, India, and China.

The evolving relationship among the four countries of China, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan is interesting to watch. Afghanistan's shift in its relationship with Pakistan has caused a perceived move away from India and requires closer coordination with China (in hopes China can influence Pakistan). Read an article that explores the new relationships in "India should overcome hesitation to play greater role in Afghanistan", by Britta Petersen, Observer Research Foundation, April 27, 2015.

One analyst says that India must 'standby' while Kabul explores its new relationship with Pakistan. It is felt that the situation will play out and India can then re-engage in Afghanistan once again. Read "More modestly, with Kabul", by C. Raja Mohan, Observer Research Foundation, April 27, 2015.

Khalid Homayun Nadira examines Pakistan's policy towards Afghanistan in "Explaining Pakistan's Self-Defeating Afghanistan Policy", Lawfare Blog, April 26, 2015.

Shakti Sinha writes about policy options for India in regards to Afghanistan in an analysis posted in Eurasia Review, April 27, 2015.

Mustafa Sarwar writes about how Pakistan has failed to deliver in the aftermath of President Ghani's flirting with Pakistan. Read more in "Afghan Leader Knocks on India's Door After Pakistan Disappointment", Gandhara Blog - Radio Free Europe, April 27, 2015.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

TAPI Pipeline and India's Marginalization

The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline promises to bring economic growth and increased prosperity to the four countries participating in this natural gas project. The TAPI pipeline will move natural gas from Turkmenistan to the other three countries. Unfortunately politics, competition, and security are obstacles to be overcome. Current plans are for the much-delayed development project to be completed in 2018. India, once seen as a major benefactor and leader in the pipeline project, is becoming sidelined. Read more in "TAPI and India's Future in Eurasia", The Diplomat, February 27, 2015.

Monday, January 5, 2015

India-Afghan Relations?

A news article by Shakti Sinha, a former civil servant who worked in Afghanistan for the UN for three years, examines India - Afghanistan relations. He states that the new Afghan government of President Ghani poses some challenges for India. He believes that India is becoming marginalized in regional affairs involving Afghanistan and states that India "seems missing in action". He believes that India should continue its practice of low-profile assistance in the economic, development, and reconstruction sectors. That continued assistance along with the ability to provide advanced medical care in India for Afghan citizens (at least those who can afford the travel costs) can provide much needed help to Afghanistan and maintain (at least to a small degree) some influence. Read "India-Afghan Relations: Road to Nowhere? - Analysis", Eurasia Review, January 2, 2015.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Afghanistan & Strategic Autonomy

A news article provides us with a look at how Afghanistan can become more independent, secure, and stable in a  post-2014 environment. Read "Afghanistan's quest for strategic autonomy",, December 24, 2014.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Revisit Afghan Endgame

Bruce Riedel, writing for Brookings, provides us with his opinion on what is to be done in Afghanistan. He says that President Obama's decision to publicly lay out his timeline for ending American troop involvement in Afghanistan was a mistake. Riedel also informs us that Pakistan needs to be pressured to end its support to the Taliban.
"But the real problem has not changed: Pakistani support for the Taliban insurgency. Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, has been providing the Taliban with safe haven and sanctuary in Pakistan for over a decade. The ISI participates directly in planning Taliban operations and target selection against Nato and Afghan targets. It helps arm and fund the Taliban and assists its fundraising efforts in the Gulf states".
Riedel concludes with a recommendation that the withdrawal from Afghanistan should be event driven and not time driven; that Obama should revisit his timeline and endgame. In addition, he thinks that India should step up and assist Afghanistan more than it does and that real pressure needs to be applied to Pakistan to stop their support of the Afghan Taliban. Read his article in "Revisit Afghanistan's End Game Plan", Brookings, December 15, 2014.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

India, Pakistan, China, and Afghanistan

Most insurgencies are not ended through military means alone. When we evaluate the effectiveness of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in conducting coutnerinsurgency - it is unlikely that the Taliban will be defeated. Sure . . . the ANSF can "overmatch" the Taliban on the battlefield when supported by fires and air support ("overmatch" is a favorite phrase of the U.S. military to lead you to believe the ANSF are winning). However, the ANSF can't do effective COIN and are unlikely to defeat the Taliban.

One of two things need to occur to end an insurgency; and many times, both. The first is the root causes of the insurgency need to be identified and addressed and the second is that negotiations with the insurgents need to take place. Afghanistan, being one of the poorest and most corrupt nations in the world, is a long way from being able to provide essential governmental services and good government - therefore it probably can't address the root causes in the near future. The track record for negotiations with insurgents thus far has not been good. Additionally, because the insurgents enjoy the protection of Pakistan, the key to negotiations with the insurgents is Pakistan.

One observer of the South Asian region explains the relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan; and further, how India and China are involved and what these two nations can do to aid the negotiation process. Read "Afghanistan should not make a false choice - analysis", Eurasia Review, December 18, 2014.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Afghan Officers Graduate from IMA

A total of 44 Afghan National Army (ANA) officers recently graduated from the Indian Military Academy. Read more in a news article by Khaama Press (Dec 13, 2014).

Sunday, December 7, 2014

China, India, and Pakistan

There are three key nations that can influence the course of history for Afghanistan - China, Pakistan, and India. The new president - Ashraf Ghani - has quickly reached out to all three in an effort to seek their assistance in establishing stability for Afghanistan. Read an insightful column by Harsh V. Pant posted on YaleGlobal Online (Dec 4, 2104) that provides good background information on this topic - "An Afghan Dilemma for China and India".

Friday, December 5, 2014

India, Pakistan: Secret War for Afghanistan

Parviz Azizi has wrote an interesting column entitled "Pakistan, India, and the Secret War for Afghanistan", Geopolitical Monitor, December 2, 2014. He outlines Pakistan's and India's interests in and perspectives on Afghanistan. In addition, he provides us with his view of the future outlook.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

India Provides Soil Research Service

The Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), in collaboration with agricultural universities in Afghanistan, is providing soil research and training to improve agriculture. Part of this service is the use of a soil testing device (a digital meter) that checks the fertility of the soil for better fertilizer recommendations. Read more here in Sify News (November 29, 2014).

Monday, November 10, 2014

India, Iran, and Afghanistan

India and Iran are finding themselves in agreement on a number of issues - and some of these issues involve Afghanistan either directly or indirectly. For one, both nations want to see a stable Afghanistan that does not harbor insurgents or terrorists. (Although Iran wants to see the United States leave Afghanistan as soon as possible). This puts both nations at odds with Pakistan - which views a stable and secure Afghanistan as a threat (when viewed as a component of the conflict with India). In addition, there is the possibility of economic cooperation between India and Iran which may have an indirect impact on Afghanistan's economy. For instance, the Iranian Chabahar port project may be a significant development in the context of Asian security as a whole, and in part, on Afghanistan. Read more in "India, Iran, and the West", The Diplomat, November 9, 2014.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Commentary - Eyes Wide Shut

The nations of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and China are holding yearly meetings addressing some of the security, economic, and development issues that affect the relationships between the three nations. The short conferences (a couple of days) are held to discuss the current security and political situation in Afghanistan and its implications for neighboring countries. Members of the countries respective governments, strategic analysts, academicians, and diplomats attend the conference. The latest conference was held in Pakistan. Read a commentary on the issues addressed and the recommendations put forward by conference participants in "China, Afghanistan and Pakistan Dialogue: Eyes Wide Shut? - Analysis", Euroasia Review, November 1, 2014.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Story on Woman Police Advisor from India

There are a lot of countries providing advisors to Afghanistan. India is one of them. Shakti Devi, is a female police inspector from India serving with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). She was awarded the 2014 International Female Peacekeeper Award for her "Exceptional Achievements". Read more in "From village girl to international peacekeeper", Thomson Reuters Foundation, October 22, 2014.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Role of Neighbors in Rebuilding Afghanistan

A recent posting by Ajay Anil Cherian posted on International Policy Digest (October 12, 2014) entitled "Rebuilding Afghanistan: The Role of Its Neighbors" provides concrete reasons why the three countries of India, China, and Pakistan should provide substantial assistance to developing and reconstructing Afghanistan.