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  • Author: Riaz A. Khokhar
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Within the Indo-Pacific region, the United States and Pakistan have sharply divergent strategic objectives. While American objectives have changed over time, focusing in recent years on rivalry with China, Pakistan’s strategic objective has remained constant—to maintain a balance of power with India. Yet Pakistan retains close strategic and economic ties with China, and the United States considers India an important strategic partner. Nevertheless, the two countries have worked together for nearly two decades toward two tactical goals—achieving a political settlement in Afghanistan and eliminating terrorism in South Asia. There is potential for them to cooperate more broadly, for example, increasing direct foreign investment to Pakistan and helping Islamabad balance its relations with the United States and China. Washington’s willingness to expand such cooperation will depend on Pakistan’s cooperation in fighting terrorism in the region.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Terrorism, Power Politics, Foreign Direct Investment, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, South Asia, India, North America, United States of America, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The United States has now been at war in Afghanistan for some seventeen years and been fighting another major war in Iraq for fifteen years. It has been active in Somalia far longer and has spread its operations to deal with terrorist or extremist threats in a wide range of conflicts in North and Sub-Saharan in Africa, South Asia, and South East Asia. In case after case, the U.S. has moved far beyond counterterrorism to counterinsurgency, and from the temporary deployment of small anti-terrorism forces to a near "permanent" military presence. The line between counterterrorism and counterinsurgency has become so blurred that there is no significant difference. The national academic consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) has just issued new trend data on terrorism that are updated through the end of 2017. When they are combined with other major sources of data on terrorism, they provide the ability to trace the history of U.S. "wars" against terrorism in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. They show the results of America's "long wars" of attrition where it is increasingly unclear that the United States has a strategy to terminate them, or has the capability to end them in ways that create a stable and peaceful state that can survive if the United State should leave. The resulting graphics and maps are provided in the full text of the report on which this summary is based, and which is available on the CSIS website here. This summary both summarizes how the trends in such data reveal the patterns in terrorism and impact on U.S. strategy. The key conclusions, and an index to these graphics, are provided in this summary.
  • Topic: Imperialism, National Security, Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, War on Terror
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, United States, South Asia, Asia, North Africa, Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Peyton Cooke, Casey Johnson, Reza Fazli
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Youth recruitment into extremist groups in Afghanistan continues to be a major source of group building. In field studies and interviews conducted in three provinces to elicit views on extremist groups, both violent and nonviolent, and factors thought to induce youth to join such groups, violent extremist groups emerged as unpopular and mistrusted, being perceived as un-Islamic and controlled by foreign powers. Nonetheless, the activities and ideologies of such groups have not been effectively countered by the government of Afghanistan, civil society, or the international community. Programs to counter extreme violence should emphasize the Islamic basis of Afghan civil law, accommodate local differences, and be conducted in partnership with moderate voices and youth, with international organizations remaining in the background
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Terrorism, International Affairs, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The al-Qaeda presence in the Pech valley is greater now than when U.S. forces arrived in 2002, and counterterrorism efforts in the region continue. This report looks at U.S. military involvement in the Pech valley and the lessons it offers both the Afghan National Security Forces and the U.S. military. It is derived from interviews with some three hundred Americans and Afghans, including general officers, unit commanders, members of parliament, district and provincial governors, Afghan interpreters and U.S. and Afghan combat veterans.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Rachel Kleinfeld, Harry Bader
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The international community's approach to building the rule of law in situations of extreme violence can be improved. These contexts demand a strategy that reduces the strength of armed nonstate groups and restores stability so governance-building activities can take hold. Lessons from a program implemented by the Natural Resources Counterinsurgency Cell (NRCC) in Afghanistan can help inform a more holistic strategy.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Bilateral Relations, Border Control
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Khalid Aziz
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: There are doubts whether the exit of a majority of foreign forces from Afghanistan will help the return of peace to that country. Unlike in the case of the SU withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1988, conditions today are more dangerous, and it will be a miracle if the withdrawal is peaceful. The main reason for this is the absence of any reconciliation with the Taliban. This report identifies a minimum set of policies and measures that need to be implemented before successful multiple transitions in Afghanistan can occur. However, the overall picture is not positive, and it is not certain that peace will prevail after foreign troops leave Afghanistan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Islam, Terrorism, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Azeem Ibrahim
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The Syrian civil war has allowed al-Qaeda to recover from its setbacks up to 2010. Its main affiliate in the region seems to be testing a new strategy of collaboration with other Salafist-Jihadist groups and a less brutal implementation of Sharia law in areas it controls. In combination, this might allow the Al Nusrah Front to carve out the sort of territorial control of a region (or state) that al-Qaeda has sought ever since its eviction from Afghanistan. On the other hand, Syria has also seen a civil war between two al-Qaeda inspired factions (Al Nusrah and the Iraq based Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIS]) and indicates there are limits to its ability to cooperate with other anti-Assad factions and gain popular appeal. The extent that the Syrian civil war offers the means for al-Qaeda to recover from its earlier defeats will determine whether the organization has a future, or if it will become simply an ideology and label adopted by various Islamist movements fighting their own separate struggles.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Phillip Smyth
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Afghan Shiite militants have been fighting on the Assad regime's side for some time, and the scope and strategic purpose of Iran's involvement is becoming increasingly clear.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Robert Perito, Tariq Parvez
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Terrorism, secessionist insurgency, sectarian conflict, and ethnic turf wars have convulsed both Pakistan's major cities and tribal areas along the Afghanistan border. The escalation in mega-urban centers in particular has increased the importance of the police in controlling the endemic violence. The police station retains both its historic role as the symbol of government authority and its position as the basic law enforcement institution responsible for public order, law enforcement, and police services. Yet police stations and personnel are ill prepared and poorly equipped to meet the challenges of the country's complex, urbanized, and increasingly violent society. Pakistani police have found themselves on the front lines, and a growing number have given their lives to protect others in the struggle against terrorist and criminal groups. The need is now urgent to empower the police through a program of positive reform that would begin with modernizing police stations and reorienting and retraining their personnel. An effective program for police station reform would begin with assigning primacy to the police for controlling terrorism. It would include developing new organizational struc¬tures, positions, and standard operating procedures to ensure that local police understand their enhanced role and mission. It would also include improving police-public relations and networking police stations into a national information-sharing network with anti-terrorist agencies. Creating high-profile specialized units appears to offer a quick fix to a complex and increas¬ingly pervasive problem. The real solution, however, lies in empowering Pakistan's police stations to protect their communities from criminal and extremist violence through modern¬ization and reform.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The more one looks at the current situation in Afghanistan today, the more likely it seems that Transition will at best produce a weak and divided state and at worst a state that either continues its civil war or comes under Taliban and extremist control. More than a decade of Western intervention has not produced a strong and viable central government, an economy that can function without massive outside aid, or effective Afghan forces. There is no sign that insurgents are being pushed towards defeat or will lose their sanctuaries in Pakistan. This has made every aspect of Transition is a high-risk effort.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Development, Islam, Terrorism, War, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency, Governance
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Taliban