Afghanistan: A Fruitless War Continues

Afghanistan: A Fruitless War ContinuesJudging by statements from senior Pentagon officers, there is a real possibility of another military “surge” in Afghanistan. If it materializes, the result will prolong a fruitless war and foreclose any political resolution of the underlying conflict. A few words on the nature of this war. One, from the predominant Afghan perspective, this is a…

China Braces for ISIS impact

China Braces for ISIS impactIn Chinese President Xi Jinping’s call for building a “great wall of iron” to shield his country against a possible infiltration by the Islamic State, or ISIS, lies China’s acknowledgement that it is as much vulnerable to this threat as any other country. That is forcing a clear change in Beijing’s traditional security concepts and…

President-elect Trump’s Humanitarian Agenda

President-elect Trump’s Humanitarian AgendaForeign policy, development, and humanitarian aid have had little coverage in the US presidential campaign. However, the issues will still be in the in-tray of Donald J. Trump come January. Here are some of the most pressing: The war in Afghanistan Trump will inherit the longest war the US has ever fought – in Afghanistan.…

US Sells Only Illusions of Success in Afghanistan

US Sells Only Illusions of Success in AfghanistanDespite reports in major US newspapers regarding a successful phase of the fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan, the country’s future continues to hang in uncertainty as do the prospects of a negotiated end to the war.   More than anything else, the war continues due to confused US strategy, ever-changing plans with regard to…

China Joins the ‘Great Game’

China Joins the ‘Great Game’During the German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent visit to China, the two countries agreed to jointly fund a disaster response center in Afghanistan. It was just the latest sign of China’s increasingly prominent role in that country, which also includes trying to jump-start peace talks with the Taliban. Germany has been a key US ally…

Food prices rise sharply after fighting disrupts Afghan harvest

Food prices rise sharply after fighting disrupts Afghan harvestFood prices are shooting up in Afghanistan as the harvest has been halted in the country’s breadbasket in the northern province of Kunduz, where farmers have fled fighting and fields are infested with explosives. The war between pro-government forces and the Taliban has been intensifying in the north. Insurgents briefly took over Kunduz City at…

Afghanistan: Spectre of ISIS a Growing Threat

Afghanistan: Spectre of ISIS a Growing ThreatThe emerging struggle for primacy between the Taliban and the notorious Middle East-based Islamic State is causing significant changes in the dynamics of Afghanistan. The war can no longer be simply described as one between NATO forces led by the United States and the Taliban. It has become a multi-sided affair that also includes Iran…

The World’s Strangest Land Grab?

The World’s Strangest Land Grab?Uzbekistan has a perhaps unusual ally in its territorial claims over neighboring Afghanistan: the mighty and ever-wandering Amu Darya river. And no one knows it better than the children of Arigh Ayagh School, just inside Afghanistan. Built in 2007 about 3km from the Amu Darya - which runs along the border between the two central…

Afghanistan: What Withdrawal?

Afghanistan: What Withdrawal?Any idea that NATO and US forces will be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014, as President Barack Obama promised, is a chimera, most probably a casualty of the deteriorating situation in the Middle East, where the Islamic State has rushed into the vacuum left by the departing US presence.   The Bilateral…

Iraq Crisis Could Slow Afghan Pullout

Iraq Crisis Could Slow Afghan PulloutThe drama of NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan is reaching its climax. Or is it? It seems likely to most observers that with any major drawdown, the Taliban plan a surge of their own that could well mean the loss of country after the 30-nation NATO coalition has lost 3,455 combat troops – the US, 2,179…
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