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  • Author: Dayyab Gillani
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: The following paper attempts to analyze the ongoing insurgency in Afghanistan by critically evaluating the insurgent ideology, its past, current and future relevance. The paper draws on lessons from the recent Afghanistan history and discusses the irrelevance for the future of Afghanistan. It traces the success of Taliban insurgency by highlighting the role of „mullahs‟ and „madrasas‟ in the Afghan society. It argues that the US policy in Afghanistan thus far has failed to isolate the public from the insurgents, which poses serious present and future challenges. By drawing parallels between the sudden Soviet withdrawal in the early 1990s and a potential US withdrawal in the near future. It also points out that an untimely US withdrawal from Afghanistan may entail an end of US engagement but it will not be an end of war for Afghanistan itself. The essay stresses the importance of a consistent long-term US policy aimed at addressing the very root causes of insurgency in the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War, Military Strategy, Insurgency, Taliban, Islamism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia, Central Asia, Punjab, United States of America
  • Author: Alejandro Chehtman
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: Drones constitute an incremental advance in weapons systems. They are able to significantly reduce overall, as well as collateral, damage. These features seem to have important implications for the permissibility of resorting to military force. In short, drones would seem to expand the right to resort to military force compared to alternative weapons systems by making resorting to force proportionate in a wider set of circumstances. This line of reasoning has significant relevance in many contemporary conflicts. This article challenges this conclusion. It argues that resorting to military force through drones in contemporary asymmetrical conflicts would usually be disproportionate. The reason for this is twofold. First, under conditions of radical asymmetry, drones may not be discriminatory enough, and, thereby, collateral damage would still be disproportionate. Second, their perceived advantages in terms of greater discrimination are counteracted by the lesser chance of success in achieving the just cause for war. As a result, resorting to military force through drones in contemporary asymmetrical conflicts would generally be disproportionate not because of the harm they would expectedly cause but, rather, because of the limited harm they are ultimately able to prevent. On the basis of normative argument and empirical data, this article ultimately shows that we need to revise our understanding of proportionality not only at the level of moral argument but also in international law.
  • Topic: International Law, War, Military Affairs, Weapons , Drones
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Europe
  • Author: Muhammad Asif, Ayaz Muhammad
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: Image plays an important role while devising a country‘s foreign policy. Therefore, all the nations whether small or big try to portray their positive images for the achievement of desired goals. USA, a dominant political actor in world politics is facing an image problem throughout the globe. Pakistan‘s alliance with the USA during and after the Cold War makes it an ideal nation to evaluate the image of USA. This empirical study designed to investigate the factors affecting, molding and promoting the positive or negative images of USA in Pakistan. Five urban centers selected to evaluate the US image including four provincial capitals namely Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and the federal capital Islamabad. Survey method used to collect and analyze the data. The image of USA evaluated in five selected areas: violation of Pakistan‘s sovereignty, US policies towards Muslim world, US policies in Afghanistan, mounting Indo-US relations, and US aid to Pakistan. Results of the study show that the factor where the image of USA was extremely negative is violation of Pakistan‘s sovereignty. US policies towards Muslim world, the issue of Afghanistan and rising strategic ties with India especially after the end of cold war are not welcomed by the Pakistani masses and viewed the American image as negative but with less intensity as compared to the factor of violation of Pakistan‘s sovereignty. Public supported the US aid program to Pakistan and viewed it as supportive for country‘s frail and flimsy economy.
  • Topic: War, Bilateral Relations, Foreign Aid, Military Affairs, Military Intervention, 9/11
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Asia, Punjab, United States of America
  • Author: Ian M. Ralby
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: On 16 September 2007, the accountability of private armed contractors became a global concern. A team of armed guards from the US company Blackwater Worldwide, operating on a US State Department contract, opened fire that day in Baghdad’s Nisor Square, killing seventeen Iraqi civilians and injuring an additional twenty. It took more than seven years before four of the individuals responsible were ultimately convicted of either first degree murder or voluntary manslaughter by a jury in a U.S. Federal District Court. A fifth member of the Blackwater team had previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter.[1] The initial lack of consequences and the slow speed of justice provided the watchful world with strong evidence that armed contractors operate in a zone of legal twilight, devoid of accountability. ​ The rise of private armed contracting was one of the most distinctive operational developments of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater, famously stated: “Our corporate goal is to do for the national security apparatus what FedEx did to the postal service.”[2] Throughout both conflicts, the hiring policies of several Western governments, particularly those of the United States, helped Blackwater and numerous other companies move toward that goal. By December 2008, for example, 69% of the United States’ total force in Afghanistan was comprised of private contractors, roughly 15% of which were armed.[3] While there are no reliable statistics on the size of the global private armed security industry, there is little doubt that it has grown and contracted with the surge and decline of Western engagement in armed conflict. New conflicts on the horizon, however, suggest the possibility of a resurgence of the industry, reigniting concerns about accountability. The proliferation of private armed security companies has coincided with a proliferation of initiatives aimed at developing accountability for the industry. Numerous codes, standards, mechanisms and proposals – developed by governments, international organizations, civil society groups, private companies, trade associations, individuals, academics and multi-stakeholder bodies – have sought to address different issues surrounding armed contractors. Most of them, however, have been developed in response to incidents that already occurred. This reactive approach to accountability, while useful for addressing past problems, may leave the industry exposed to future problems. In other words, a code, standard or mechanism set up to prevent another Nisor Square incident may be very effective in doing so, but may fail to prevent a different and even more worrying incident in the future. This article begins with a brief overview of the most credible accountability initiatives, suggesting that the resulting collection forms a patchwork, rather than a framework for governing the conduct of armed contractors. The analysis then focuses on the process of selecting contractors, with a particular emphasis on the US Government. While cost has been a key factor in determining selection, the various initiatives discussed have made it possible for accountability and quality to be added as essential metrics. Ultimately, however, the failure of the accountability initiatives to remain current, much less forward-looking, means that the objective determinants of ‘accountability and quality’ may not be fit for purpose as the US and other Western powers begin to engage the services of armed contractors for assistance in new conflicts...
  • Topic: Security, War, Governance, Military Affairs, Regulation, Accountability
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Robert Jervis
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: Robert Jervis reviews Robert Gates's recently published memoir, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War. The reviewer argues that the memoir is very revealing, but inadvertently so insofar as it shows for example Gates's failure to focus on the key issues involved in the decisions to send more troops to Afghanistan and his inability to bridge the gap between the perspectives of the generals and of the White House.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Stephen Biddle
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In an important sense, emerging debates on the war's lessons are premature. The war in Afghanistan is not over; nor is it ending anytime soon. Nevertheless, before conventional wisdom consolidates, two observations on counterinsurgency are worth considering now: whether it can work and how to approach governance reform.
  • Topic: Security, War, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, America
  • Author: Sumithra Narayanan Kutty
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: When it comes to Afghanistan's future, the United States ironically has more in common with Iran than it does with Pakistan. As Western troops draw down, a look inside Iran's enduring interests, means to secure them, unique assets, and goals that may or not conflict with other regional actors.
  • Topic: Government, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iran
  • Author: Timothy Peace
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Cultures & Conflits
  • Institution: Cultures & Conflits
  • Abstract: Depuis 2001, en France comme en Grande-Bretagne, les « musulmans » et les associations qui les représentent ont été amenés à participer à plusieurs occasions au mouvement altermondialiste. On a notamment pu le constater lors des Forum sociaux européens (FSE) qui se sont tenus dans les capitales de ces deux pays. Cet engagement s'étant récemment affaibli, il est possible d'y voir un cas d'« altermondialisme oublié ». On a souvent pointé ces pays en raison de leur attitude divergente vis-à-vis de leurs minorités respectives et sur la place qu'y occupe la religion dans la sphère publique. Ces deux cas offrent donc aux chercheurs l'opportunité d'étudier comment ces différentes conceptions affectent les mouvements sociaux et leurs participants. Nous souhaitons montrer dans cet article que l'élément le plus notable de cette mobilisation musulmane est l'impact de celle-ci sur des mouvements altermondialistes euxmêmes et la manière dont elle a remis en question leur propre représentation de mouvements ouverts et « tolérants ». De nombreux spécialistes des mouvements sociauxont remarqué le fait que les acteurs de ces mouvements doivent souvent faire face à des dilemmes causés par le poids des identités religieuses et la difficulté de faire coexister celles-ci avec d'autres critères d'identification . Cet article cherche à mettre ces difficultés en avant, ainsi que les limites de la supposée « tolérance » des acteurs « traditionnels » de l'altermondialisme, confrontés à la participation des musulmans. Les FSE servent de lieu de rencontre et de discussion pour une myriade de groupes se réclamant de la mouvance altermondialiste. Cependant, l'événement en lui-même consiste à la fois en un forum officiel et en un « espace alternatif / autonome » agissant comme un événement annexe, composé de tous les groupes qui rejettent le processus officiel d'organisation. A l'intérieur du mouvement lui-même, on fait souvent référence à ce clivage en usant de l'expression « horizontaux contre verticaux », chacun des groupes ayant des conceptions opposées de la politique, des enjeux du FSE et du mouvement en general . Nous étudierons ici uniquement les forums officiels - en particulier ceux qui se sont tenus en région parisienne en 2003 et à Londres en 2004 - et nous ne traiterons donc que des acteurs « verticaux ».
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, France
  • Author: Harmonie Toros, Luca Mavelli
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: This article explores how the violence against Afghan civilians carried out by the Taliban and US 'rogue' soldiers has been accounted for as the product of, respectively, collective evil and individual pathology. These two seemingly contending explanations, it is argued, are part of the same strategy of depoliticization, which aims to provide support and legitimacy for the US-led war in Afghanistan. The article discusses how the genealogy of the discourse of collective evil surrounding the Taliban can be traced to an Orientalist political theodicy, which frames the Taliban as 'children of a lesser God' – that is, as fanatical puppets at the mercy of a violent God – and how the discourse of individual pathology surrounding the unsanctioned violence of US soldiers is instrumental to exempt military and civilian leadership from collusion and responsibility. The article challenges this latter narrative of individual blame by discussing how killing, torture and desecration of bodies are at the heart of warfare. Hence, it is concluded, the language of collective evil and individual pathology are part of the same strategy of depoliticization, which aims to silence political contestation and conceal the dehumanizing aspect of war, its structural production of violence, and the complex and dispersed nature of responsibility.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Taliban
  • Author: Stephen Biddle
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: International forces in Afghanistan are preparing to hand over responsibility for security to Afghan soldiers and police by the end of 2014. U.S. President Barack Obama has argued that battlefield successes since 2009 have enabled this transition and that with it, “this long war will come to a responsible end.” But the war will not end in 2014. The U.S. role may end, in whole or in part, but the war will continue -- and its ultimate outcome is very much in doubt.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Taliban