Showing posts with label Iran. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Iran. Show all posts

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Commentary on Afghanistan

Iran's Hand in Western Afghanistan. The western province of Farah is experiencing significant security problems. The province shares a border with Iran. Some Afghan's are blaming Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) for aiding the Taliban insurgents in western Afghanistan. Apparently it is believed that Iran does not want to see certain construction projects succeed and it wants to diminish U.S. influence in western Afghanistan. For instance, the TAPI project is a rival to Iran's own regional pipeline project and would increase the influence of Arab Gulf states. Read "Afghans see Iran's hand in Taliban's latest gains in western Afghanistan", Middle East Institute, March 14, 2018.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Peace Talks

January 11th Peace Talks. Multi-state peace talks including the nations of China, U.S., Afghanistan and Pakistan are scheduled for January 11th. A second round of talks, not yet scheduled, will be held in Kabul. The participation of China and the United States is consider key by many observers - with hopes that the two nations can keep the talks on track. The representatives of the four nations will meet in Islamabad, Pakistan to revive peace negotiations that stalled in July after the disclosure of the death of the Afghan Taliban leader - Mullah Omar.

Iran & Peace Talks. It is being reported that Iran officials want to have full presence and direct participation in the Afghanistan peace talks process. There is no indication that the United States, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and China are having any of that.

Pakistan's Role? Lisa Curtis, a senior research fellow in The Heritage Foundation's Asian Studies Center, examines Pakistan's role in the never-ending quest to get peace talks established between the Afghan government and the Taliban. She paints a disquieting picture. Afghanistan After America's War, December 2016.

Winter Surge - Taliban Seeking Upper Hand? One commentator believes that the unprecedented winter surge of 2015-2016 by the Taliban points to a desire for an upper hand in peace talks. Read "Afghan Taliban seek leverage in dangerous winter surge", The Times of India, January 6, 2016.

Include Women in Peace Talks? The Human Rights Watch (HRW) organization has come out strongly endorsing the participation of women in the upcoming peace talks scheduled for January 11th. Afghan women and international observers are fearful that the government (and international players) will trade away women's rights as a concession to the Taliban. Read more in "Afghanistan: Include Women in New Peace Talks", Human Rights Watch, January 4, 2016.

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.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Iran - Influence in Afghanistan Growing

With the withdrawal of ISAF forces from Afghanistan the regional powers in the area are expanding their influence in Afghanistan. Principal among these regional powers are Pakistan, India, China, and Iran. Iran has benefited immensely from the "Global War on Terror" or GWOT waged by the United States and its allies over the past decade and more. The Sunni regime in Iraq was toppled as well as the Sunni Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Iran has quietly inserted itself into the affairs of both countries. Iran's influence is sure to expand even further in Afghanistan over the coming years. Read more in "Elephant in the Jirga: Iran's interests in Afghanistan - Analysis", Eurasia Review, February 11, 2015.

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

China and Iran: Cooperation on Afghanistan?

China and Iran both border Afghanistan; although China's border is a very short one located in a remote and mountainous region. Both countries wish to see a stable and secure Afghanistan. China sees great economic potential in Afghanistan's rich mineral resources and a stable Afghanistan allows China to invest and reap economic benefits. Iran would like to see the Taliban go away. However each country differs on their view of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. China would like to see us continue our hard work investing lives, time, energy and money in Afghanistan. Iran would like to see the United States influence subside so its influence can grow within Afghanistan. It is quite possible that the future will see greater cooperation between Iran and China on Afghanistan. Read more in "Could Iran and China Cut the US Out of Afghanistan?", The Diplomat, November 1, 2014.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Iran and Pakistan Destabilize Afghanistan

The Pentagon's latest assessment on security in Afghanistan has criticized Iran and Pakistan - stating that both countries are destabilizing regional security by supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Read more in "Pentagon Says Policies of Iran, Pakistan Destabilize Afghan Security", Radio Free Europe, November 5, 2014.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Afghan and Iran Ties May Deepen

President Karzai recently visited Iran in an attempt to strengthen the bond between Iran and Afghanistan. This visit may possibly be an attempt to persuade the United States that Afghanistan has other options other than relying on the U.S. for military and economic support. While a regional solution to the Afghan conflict certainly is welcome it is doubtful if the regional players (Iran, Pakistan, and others) will feel compelled to assist Afghanistan if the U.S. completely exits from Afghanistan. Iran would be very reluctant to see a return of Taliban rule in Afghanistan; yet it hesitates to see a continued United States presence in Afghanistan. Learn more in a recent news article entitled "Iran Looks to Deepen Ties to Afghanistan", Voice of America, December 19, 2013.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Iranian al Quds Agent Captured in Afghanistan

It has long been known that Iran has been supporting elements of the Taliban.  A member of the Iranian al Quds force was recently captured by U.S. Special Forces in Kandahar on December 18, 2010.  The agent is accused of supplying weapons from Iran to Taliban fighters for attacks on British and American Soldiers.  Read more in "Forces in Afghanistan Face New Threat From Iran", Fox News, December 24, 2010.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Iran Undermining U.S. Effort in Afghanistan

Iran has been busy undermining the efforts of the U.S. and other coalition partners in Afghanistan.  Recently leaked U.S. Embassy cables (leaked by WikiLeaks) show that Iran is providing "lethal support" to the insurgents.  Read more in "US embassy cables: Iran busy trying to undermine the US in Afghanistan", The Guardian, December 2, 2010.