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  • Author: Zachary Constantino
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The most consequential regional competition for influence in Afghanistan is the contest between India and Pakistan. Indian leaders strive to cultivate Afghanistan as a natural partner and reliable bulwark against Islamic militants, including Pakistan-backed groups, while Islamabad seeks to counter what it regards as an Indo-Afghan nexus to encircle and weaken Pakistan. This report examines the interests and strategies of both countries in Afghanistan within the context of peace negotiations and developments in Kashmir.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Conflict, Peace, Strategic Competition, Proxy War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Asia, India, Kashmir
  • Author: Aisha Ahmad
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In recent years, jihadists across the world have transformed their gendered violence, shocking the world by breaking from prior taboos and even celebrating abuses that they had previously prohibited. This behavior is surprising because jihadists represent a class of insurgents that are deeply bound by rules and norms. For jihadists, deviating from established Islamist doctrines is no easy feat. What then explains these sudden transformations in the rules and norms governing jihadist violence? An inductive investigation of contemporary jihadist violence in Pakistan and Nigeria reveals a new theory of jihadist normative evolution. Data from these cases show that dramatic changes in jihadist violence occur when an external trigger creates an expanded political space for jihadist entrepreneurs to do away with normative constraints on socially prohibited types of violence. As these jihadist leaders capitalize on the triggers, they are able to encourage a re-socialization process within their ranks, resulting in the erosion of previously held taboos, the adoption of proscribed behaviors, and the emergence of toxic new norms.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Gender Issues, Islam, Terrorism, Women, Gender Based Violence
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Middle East, West Asia
  • Author: Haviland Smith
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: It is clear that there are powerful people both in the United States and in Iran who would like to force a real confrontation between our two countries. What is completely unclear is whether or not those hawks on both sides want a modified Cold War type confrontation, built perhaps on cyber warfare, or an all-out military confrontation. What this situation, with all its incredibly profound dangers and possible disastrous outcomes, has done is once again prompt the question, “what is the United States doing in the Middle East and what precisely are our goals there?”
  • Topic: Cold War, Islam, Religion, Terrorism, Minorities, Ethnicity
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, United States of America
  • 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: Anushka D. Kapahi, Gabrielle Tañada, Farhan Zahid, Shane Britten
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: This issue of CTTA observes three critical case studies of political violence and terrorism that highlight either countering terrorism or preventing violent extremism (PVE) policies as the key takeaways. Research has highlighted that improved and innovative counter-terrorism and PVE policies can mitigate the long-term effects of terrorism and extremism, and possibly prevent conflicts from occurring in the first place. Through the case study of the Philippines, this issue discusses identity-driven conflicts and the need for ‘hearts and minds’ driven approaches by the state for conflict resolution. In order to ensure long-term peace, the state should look into culturally-sensitive approaches that don’t alienate aggrieved groups and instead attempt to mainstream and integrate them into the broader society. Further, the issue delves into the influence and ideology of radical ideologues in the case of the Afghanistan -Pakistan region. The article highlights a national counter-narrative campaign can play a role in decreasing and countering the reverence and following of religious figures preaching intolerance and extremism. Lastly, the issue observes intelligence failures in terrorist attacks and recommends an improvement in related counter-terrorism policies through increased focus on cognitive analysis. This would allow states and related security agencies to respond better to emerging terrorist threats and prevent violent attacks from occurring. In the first article, Anushka D. Kapahi and Gabrielle Tañada analyse the interplay of history, religion and identity to explain the Bangsamoro people’s uprising in Mindanao, Southern Philippines. The authors argue that despite legal advancements, the Bangsamoro people’s demand for autonomy and self-governance still exists due to a lack of recognition of their cultural identity. This has obstructed conflict resolution, attempts at assimilation and overall development within the region, necessitating a culturally-sensitive approach that gives due consideration to locals’ identity for long-term peace. Farhan Zahid sheds light on the impact of influential Pakistani militant ideologue Mufti Nizam-ud-Din Shamzai’s worldview — in the form of fatwas, speeches, sermons and books — on various militant groups in the Af-Pak region. Shamzai is a celebrated scholar among Af-Pak militants and they continue to draw inspiration from his writings and teachings even after his assassination in 2004. However, Shamzai’s personality and works remain under -researched. The author recommends that formulating a national counter narrative against violent extremism while understanding the impact of his ideology on Af-Pak militant discourse is essential for policymakers in Pakistan. In the last article, Shane Britten reviews the importance of cognitive analytical techniques for accurate intelligence analysis in counterterrorism. He contends that lack of training in the art of cognitive analysis has been a major factor in various counter-terrorism intelligence failures in recent years. These intelligence failures are not of information-collection, but reflect the inability to adequately analyse the collected information. The author suggests that by improving the cognitive capabilities of intelligence analysts involved in counterterrorism through training and capacity building, the percentage of intelligence failures could be minimised.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, Political stability, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Asia, Philippines, Southeast Asia
  • Author: C. Nna-Emeka Okereke, Syed Huzaifah Bin Othman Alkaff, Abdul Basit
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The continuing terrorist attacks in the West and different parts of Asia and Africa underscore the resilience, adaptability and regenerative nature of the prevailing global terrorist threat. With these attacks, the contours of the post-IS threat environment are now becoming increasing clear. It entails four major issues: a decentralised threat landscape, the challenge of returning foreign fighters from Iraq and Syria, the emergence of new IS hotspots in the Philippines, Afghanistan and parts of Africa, and cyber radicalisation. This requires continued vigilance, collaborative responses and sharing of best practices between security institutions and intelligentsia. In the context of continuing terrorist threat, the massacre of over 500 civilians in Eastern Ghouta in Syria by the Bashar Al-Assad regime is concerning for several reasons. The brutal use of violence will continue to fuel jihadist recruitment, strengthen the extremist narrative and create space for IS-linked and other militant groups to survive. Whether it is Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan, the absence of conflict stabilisation has undermined counter-terrorism efforts in these war-torn territories. The imagery of civilian killings in Ghouta plays right into the hands of groups like Al-Qaeda and IS as these groups continue to be the by-products of anarchy and lawlessness in active conflict zones. Against this backdrop, the first article by Abdul Basit explores the urban footprint of pro-IS jihadists in South Asia. The author observes that the dissemination of IS ideology of Jihadi-Takfiri-Salafism has galvanised a new generation of South Asia jihadists, which is narrowly sectarian, brutally violent and tech savvy. This pro-IS generation of jihadists uses various social media platforms for propaganda dissemination, recruitment and operational planning. In recent months, they have moved from open-end to encrypted social media applications. This development coupled with their segregated cell-formations makes their detection challenging. In conclusion, the author suggests that in addition to robust social media monitoring capabilities and operational preparedness, various South Asia governments would also require robust counter-ideological responses to overcome and neutralise IS appeal in this generation of South Asia jihadists. Highlighting the threat from social media, Syed Huzaifah Bin Othman Alkaff examines the trajectory of online radicalisation of a young Filipino girl, whose quest to atone herself from a ‘sinful’ past life exposed her to IS-recruiters online. The recruiters encouraged her to undertake the so-called ‘hijra’, after which she emerged as the head of IS’ female wing in Marawi (Mindanao, Phillipines). Syed highlights the need for a proactive approach by the governments and mainstream Islamic scholars to impart correct interpretations of key Islamic concepts such as jihad, caliphate, hijra and takfir to Muslim youth. It is argued that these efforts will circumvent the exploitation of these concepts by violent-extremist groups. Departing from the discussion on Islamist terrorist groups, this issue carries an article by C. Nna-Emeka Okereke focusing on the dynamics of the current indigenous Anglophone (English-speaking population) crisis in Cameroon and the escalating violence between the community in the northwest and southwest and the government. The Anglophone community is resentful towards what is perceived to be their marginalisation and the erosion of their unique identity as a result of various government actions relating to issues such as the creation of a centralised state from a two-state federation, and status of the English language. A segment of the Anglophone community has resorted to violence to address its grievances, conducting arson attacks and bombings targeting schools, government and security personnel. The instability has resulted in the displacement of thousands of refugees into Nigeria and poses security challenges to the country as it goes into the Presidential elections, and to the entire Lake Chad Basin.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, Islamic State, Political stability, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia, Middle East, East Asia, Philippines, North Africa, Syria, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Asifa Jahangir, Umbreen Javaid
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: The war-torn Afghanistan has long suffered from the dynastical contests and fraught economic strategies of foreigners, which instigated constant internal strife and regional instability. The foreign interventions have made this land a sphere of influence and initiated the great game politics sporadically. This paper attempts to examine the historical geostrategic tussles in Afghanistan between international players on the one hand and regional actors on the other hand over control and manipulation of Afghanistan and its surrounding regions through the lens of conceptual framework of unintended consequences approach, which deals with irrational aspect of foreign policy of the states. This study makes interesting contribution to the existing literature of the [old] Great Game of the late 19th century between Czarist Russia and Great Britain or New Great Game by re-conceptualizing this idea into a new concept of the Grand Great Game or the 3G in place of explaining the unintended consequences of the historical events i.e. the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan of 1979, the post-Cold War era when the regional players Pakistan and India got involved in Afghanistan; and the US invasion of Afghanistan of 9/11 incident. The findings of the paper suggest that the unintended consequences of these historical events are bitter than the reality. The foreign interventions have paralyzed the Afghan society and made it more insecure by promoting clandestine terrorist activities and proxies. The interview technique helps to verify the 3G concept and present its unintended consequences. The critical content analysis of the primary and secondary data is of assistance to understand that the current 3G to be not only multidimensional competition, embodying multiple stakeholders but also incorporating complex self-defined rational as well as irrational foreign policy objectives and national interests.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Terrorism, History, Power Politics, Territorial Disputes, Taliban, Geopolitics, Military Intervention
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Europe, South Asia, India, Punjab, United States of America
  • Author: Arshad Mahmood, Shaheen Akhtar
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: Though Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is significantly weakened and dislodged from former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) yet, it has relocated to bordering areas in Afghanistan under ideological umbrella of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and gets operational and logistics support through Afghan and Indian intelligence agencies. ISIS, having been greatly marginalized in the Middle East is struggling to gain foothold in Afghanistan with TTP as its proxy to execute the deadly terrorist attacks in Pakistan. The presence of ISIS in Afghanistan not only poses threat to Afghanistan but its collusion with TTP threatens Pakistan’s internal security as well. Pakistan’s sacrifices go in vain if cooperation from Afghanistan and the US forces is not forthcoming in defeating ISIS and TTP operating from Afghanistan. The article argues while domestic reforms and effective implementation of National Action Plan (NAP) by Pakistan is important to quell extremism and terrorism from urban centres, the cooperation from regional countries, harbouring TTP is vital for the elimination of scourge of terrorism from the region.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, National Security, Regional Cooperation, Terrorism, Taliban, Violent Extremism, Al Qaeda, Islamic State
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Asia, Central Asia, Punjab
  • Author: Muhammad Akram Soomro, Bushra H. Rehman
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: Twenty first century has witnessed a new kind of war, “War on Terror”. Pakistan joined this war after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and became a front line state in this war. Resultantly, Pakistan had to end its support for the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The Afghan Taliban did not accept that policy shift and in reaction began attacking almost every place and segment of society right from military to politicians, mosques to parks, and hospitals to schools. The relationship between media and terrorism is indispensable because terrorists need media coverage and publicity, and media needs shocking and sensational news stories. Given this backdrop, this study intends to investigate two research questions. First, “What reasons of terrorist attacks were discussed in the editorials of major Urdu and English newspaper of Pakistan?” and second, “What solutions were suggested in the major Urdu and English newspaper of Pakistan?” Two newspapers, daily Dawn (English Newspaper) and daily Jang (Urdu Newspaper) have been selected for this study. Content analysis has been used as methodology and editorials published during 2001 to 2016 constitute the population for this research study. The results show that shift in foreign policy of Pakistan towards Afghanistan was discussed as a major reason of terrorist attacks and similarly, as solution, review of foreign policy of Pakistan towards Afghanistan was discussed in highest number of editorials.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Taliban, Violent Extremism, Media, News Analysis, Violence
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Asia, Central Asia, Punjab
  • Author: Rand Quinn
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Despite a profound global impact over the first half of the twentieth century, polio is largely an afterthought throughout the developed world. Vaccines engineered in the late 1950s paved the way for a precipitous drop in global disease burden with the onset of the World Health Organization-led (WHO) Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) starting in 1988. Recent indicators of the program’s success include a declaration of eradication in India[1] and a teeteringly low infection rate in Nigeria;[2] two of the disease’s last bastions. This progress, however, has been notably stifled by the steady persistence of a wild poliovirus reservoir centered in northern Pakistan along the Afghanistan-Pakistan (Af-Pak) border. Throughout significant portions of recorded history this region’s volatility has been well-documented, including a currently sustained network for the training of terrorist fighters dating back to the period of the 1979 Afghan-Soviet War.[3] These networks serve to both attract fledgling radical jihadist recruits and supply fighters globally, markedly providing many of the transnational fighters taking part in the Syrian Civil War. Their movement in and out of the Af-Pak region has provided a major disease vector for poliovirus. The location of a terrorist network transit hub in by far the world’s largest remaining reservoir of wild poliovirus poses a major challenge for policymakers. Due to several factors, including a decline in healthcare infrastructure throughout the western world, the situation presents a legitimate epidemiological threat. However, the issue is more importantly an exemplar of the morphing nature of multidimensional threats, which are likely to become more prevalent in an era of globalization, failed states, and an inability to effectively address social issues amidst the threat of kinetic warfare...
  • Topic: Security, Environment, Health, Terrorism, World Health Organization, Infectious Diseases, Borders
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Asia, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Belquis Ahmadi
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Four decades of political instability, violent conflict, and socioeconomic crisis has had a devastating impact on Afghanistan and its citizens. As this Peace Brief explains, understanding the process of radicalization and the drivers of violent extremism is vital to designing effective counterstrategies.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Terrorism, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • 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: Mieke Eoyang, Ben Freeman
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Over Memorial Day weekend, President Obama announced that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the longest-held American captive in the Afghanistan conflict, had been released in exchange for five Taliban detainees in Guantanamo Bay. While the initial response to Bergdahl's release was positive, the deal quickly came under fire from the Right, including some who previously had advocated for his release.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Human Rights, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, North America
  • 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: William A. Byrd
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Two years ago, the Chicago international summit agreed on long-term targets for the size of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and committed to continued international financial support until 2024. Since then, the ANSF have taken over lead responsibility for Afghanistan's security and have by most accounts performed well, taking substantial casualties but holding their own against the Taliban. However, the ANSF still rely heavily on U.S. financial and logistical support and military "enablers" in such roles as air support, medevac and reconnaissance. The Afghan government's failure to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States during the past eight months has coincided with, and undoubtedly contributed to, declining political support for the international engagement in Afghanistan. Not only has U.S. civilian aid in the current fiscal year been halved, but the White House recently announced a complete U.S. troop pull-out by the end of 2016, except for "normal levels" to protect the U.S. Embassy and oversee military assistance. That is close to a "zero option," albeit in 2016 and not 2014. The announcement raises serious questions about the staying power of international security funding (which would amount to billions of dollars per year into the early 2020s if the Chicago commitments hold); management of security assistance; provision of logistical support and enablers; whether Afghanistan's domestic revenues will grow fast enough to meet its own ANSF funding commitments; and timing of any future ANSF reductions in relation to possible negotiations with the Taliban insurgency. The ANSF (especially the Afghan National Army, or ANA) was largely a creation of the United States, which has advocated for and endorsed its current size and cost. It would be irresponsible to create such a force and then turn around and undermine it.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, Terrorism, International Security, Military Strategy, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Chicago
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The number of foreign fighters is high, 12,000 and counting, and the spread of countries they come from covers much of the globe. Two recent events involving foreign fighters show the radicalizing influence of the war. With the support to bolster Syria's more secular rebel forces at times inconsistent and tepid, the lack of an alternative has accelerated a natural gravitation towards extremist elements. It will be hard to know which returnees pose a threat, and harder still to deal with them. Given that the number of foreign fighters already exceeds those that went to Afghanistan, government resources will be severely strained to monitor all returnees and will have to rely on the help of local communities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United Kingdom, Middle East, Syria
  • 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
  • Author: Thomas M. Sanderson, Rick "Ozzie" Nelson, Stephanie Sanok Kostro, Zachary I. Fellman, Rob Wise
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The bulk of international counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, and related efforts over the last decade have focused on targeting a select few extremist organizations such as al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban. Yet looming security transitions, international fiscal strictures, demographic trends, religious and ethnic tensions, popular dissatisfaction, and weak governance are likely having significant and worrying effects on a wide array of militant actors around the world. A narrow focus on those groups perceived to be the most immediate threats has, at times, come at the cost of a broader understanding of militancy and how it may manifest in a given region.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Insurgency, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia, Taliban
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: More than a decade into the “war on terrorism,” much of the political debate in the US is still fixated on the legacy of 9/11. US politics has a partisan fixation on Benghazi, the Boston Marathon bombing, intelligence intercepts, and Guantanamo. Far too much US attention still focuses on “terrorism” at a time the US faces a much broader range of threats from the instability in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) and Islamic world. Moreover, much of the US debate ignores the fact that the US has not actually fought a “war on terrorism” over the last decade, and the US failures in using military force and civil aid in Afghanistan and Iraq. The US has not fought wars as such, but rather became involved in exercises in armed nation building where stability operations escalated into national building as a result of US occupation and where the failures in stability operations and nation building led to insurgencies that forced the US into major counterinsurgency campaigns that had little to do with counterterrorism. An analysis of the trends in the Iraq and Afghan conflicts shows that the US has not been fighting a war on terrorism since Bin Laden and Al Qaida Central were driven into Pakistan in December 2001. The US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and then made stability operations and armed nation building its key goals. It was US mishandling of these exercises in armed nation building that led to major counterinsurgency campaigns although – at least in the case of Afghanistan --the US continued to label its military operations as a struggle against “terrorism.” By 2013, the US had committed well over $1.4 trillion to these exercises in Afghanistan and Iraq. At the same time, the US made massive increases in its domestic spending on homeland defense that it rationalized as part of the fight against terrorism but often had little or nothing to do with any aspect of counterterrorism. At the same time, the US failed to develop consistent or useful unclassified statistics on the patterns in terrorism and its counterterrorism activities. The US government has never provided a meaningful break out of federal activities and spending at home or abroad which actually focus on terrorism, or any unclassified measures of effectiveness. The OMB has lumped a wide range of activities that have no relation to terrorism it its reporting on the President's budget request – activities whose total cost now approach $60 billion a year. The Department of Defense has never provided a meaningful estimate of the total cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, or a break out of the small portion of total overseas contingency operations (OCO) spending actually spent on counterterrorism versus counter insurgency. The State Department and US intelligence community provide no meaningful unclassified data on the cost of their counterterrorism effort and it is unclear that they have developed any metrics at any level that show the cost-benefits of their activities. The annual US State Department country reports on terrorism come as close to an unclassified report on the status of terrorism as the US government provides. While many portions are useful, the designation of terrorist movements is often political and shows the US designation of terrorist movements conflates terrorism and insurgency. The closest the US has come to developing any metrics on terrorism has been to develop an unclassified database in the National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC) that never distinguished terrorism from insurgency. This database formed the core of the statistical annex to State Department reporting, but has since been withdrawn without explanation. As this analysis shows in detail, it now has been replaced by a contractor effort that makes all of the previous mistakes made by the NCTC. The end result is a set of official reporting and statistics in the annex to the State Department report where “terrorism” remains remained poorly defined, badly structured, ignored in parts of the world, and conflates terrorism with counterinsurgency, instability, and civil war. A review of the Afghan, Iraq conflicts, and other recent conflicts in the MENA region shows just how serious these problems are in distorting the true nature of the wars the US is fighting and the threats it faces. The same is true of the unclassified reporting the US government provides on terrorism. A detailed review of the most recent State Department report on terrorism provides important insights into key terrorist movements, but the narratives generally ignore their ties to insurgent movements, their statistical data include some major insurgent movements and exclude others, and many of the data seem to include violence that is not truly terroristic in character.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Seth G. Jones, Keith Crane
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Afghanistan will undergo three major transitions in 2014: from a Hamid Karzai–led government to one presumably headed by another president following the 2014 election; from a U.S.-led to an Afghan-led counterinsurgency; and from an economy driven by foreign expenditures on military support and assistance to one more reliant on domestic sources of growth, as the United States and other countries reduce their presence. The United States and its allies will need to shape each of these transitions in ways that safeguard their interests.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Islam, Terrorism, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Seth G. Jones, Keith Crane
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Afghanistan will undergo three major transitions in 2014: from a Hamid Karzai-led government to one presumably headed by another president following the 2014 election; from a U.S.-led to an Afghan-led counterinsurgency; and from an economy driven by foreign expenditures on military support and assistance to one more reliant on domestic sources of growth, as the United States and other countries reduce their presence. The United States and its allies will need to shape each of these transitions in ways that safeguard their interests.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Military Strategy, Bilateral Relations, Border Control
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Patricia A. Gossman
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In Afghanistan, the social upheaval resulting from thirty-five years of war has created widely differing narratives of the conflict as various communities and political factions have reconstructed events through the lens of their experiences. Extensive dislocation of large segments of the population and poor communication throughout the war years meant that Afghans often had no way of knowing what was happening in different parts of the country. Although the war had several phases, earlier transitions—such as the collapse of the Najibullah government in 1992—failed to provide an opportunity for investigations into past human rights abuses because the conflict was ongoing. As a consequence, documentation remains thin. Conditions have made it difficult for human rights groups to function; additionally, many records have been either lost or destroyed. Since 2001, a number of initiatives were launched to investigate and document war crimes and human rights abuses. The relative openness of this period provided increased opportunities to document ongoing abuses occurring in the context of the Taliban insurgency and counterinsurgency effort. The most ambitious components of transitional justice, as envisioned by Afghan organizations and their international partners, however, appear to be indefinitely stalled given the failure of electoral vetting and the silencing of an Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission report that would have mapped all abuses in the three decades of conflict. No single report or archive can provide a definitive truth about the past. Such an archive, however, can serve, however imperfectly, as vital evidence in the effort to understand the complex array of factors that have played a part in conflict. Better documentation and access to other narratives could provide a counterweight to narrow or politically motivated interpretations of past events that could seed future conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Islam, Terrorism, War, Armed Struggle, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Linda Janků, Petr Suchý
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Obrana a strategie (Defence & Strategy)
  • Institution: University of Defence
  • Abstract: The article deals with deterrence of terrorism. The aim is to assess validity of a proposition that it is possible to deter terrorist groups, but there are some specifics in comparison to the deterrence of states. First, we determine deterrence threats which can be applied in relation to terrorist groups and discuss possible restraints of their application in practice. This is followed by an analysis of whether deterrence can be applied against all types of terrorist groups without distinction, where we develop a model of classification of terrorist groups according to the goals which they pursue. So far, the topic of deterrence of terrorism has not been discussed in detail in the Czech academic texts. This article thus seeks to fill this lacuna and highlight the benefits of applying deterrence strategy to the terrorist groups.
  • Topic: NATO, Terrorism, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Asia, France, Arabia
  • Author: Barbara Slavin, Fatemah Aman
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: When compared to its often rocky relations with Arab countries to the west, the Islamic Republic of Iran has managed to retain largely cordial ties with its neighbors to the east. Historic linguistic, religious, and cultural connections have helped Iran keep its influence in South Asia and become a key trading partner despite US-led sanctions. Because of its strategic location on the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, Iran provides India with access to Afghanistan and Central Asia that does not require transit through Pakistan. However, Iran and its neighbors, including Pakistan, face acute challenges such as scarce and poorly managed water resources, ethnic insurgencies, energy imbalances, and drug trafficking that require regional solutions.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Terrorism, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Iran, South Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, Arabia, North America, Persia
  • Author: Gilles Dorronsoro
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan will leave the country worse than it was before 2001 in some respects. There is no clear plan for the future. Washington will progressively lose its influence over Kabul, and drone operations in Pakistan are not a credible way to fight jihadist groups on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The situation will only worsen after 2014, when most U.S. troops are out of the country and aid going to the Afghan government steeply declines.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Terrorism, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Washington, Asia
  • Author: Max Boot
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Afghanistan is approaching a major inflection point in its long and turbulent history. In 2014 most of the foreign military forces are due to pull out. With them will go the bulk of foreign financing that has accounted for almost all of the state's budget. Twenty fourteen is also the year that Afghanistan is due to hold presidential elections. Hamid Karzai, the only president the country has known since the fall of the Taliban, has said he will not seek another term in office. Thus Afghanistan is likely to have a new president to lead it into a new era. This era will be shaped by many factors, principally decisions made by Afghans themselves, but the United States has the ability to affect the outcome if it makes a sustained commitment to maintain security, improve the political process, and reduce Pakistani interference so as to build on the tenuous gains achieved by the U.S. troop surge since 2010.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Islam, Terrorism, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Taliban
  • Author: Austin Long
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies
  • Abstract: War is fundamentally a clash of organizations. Organizations provide the vital mechanisms that mobilize and convert resources into combat power as well as applying that combat power against the enemy. This is true not only of conventional militaries, but also of insurgent and terrorist groups. Organizational capacity is thus a crucial determinant of success in conflict. Stephen Biddle, for example, attributes heavy causal weight for success in modern conventional military conflict to the relative capacity of military organizations to employ a set of techniques he terms “the modern system.” Philip Selznick argues that organization is equally crucial for success in political combat, where subversion of other organizations is as important as brute force.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Joseph Felter
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for International Security and Cooperation
  • Abstract: My testimony draws on experience and perspective gained during my career as a US Army Special Forces officer with deployments to Afghanistan most recently in 2010- 2011 as commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Counterinsurgency Advisory and Assistance Team (CAAT) deploying experienced counterinsurgency advisors across all five ISAF regional commands and reporting directly to COMISAF. It is also informed by participation in efforts to build host nation security force capabilities in the Philippines and elsewhere as well as by scholarly research on the effective employment of state security forces to combat insurgency.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Terrorism, War, Law Enforcement
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Damien Helly
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: On 19 November, the Council of the EU welcomed the Crisis Management Concept for a possible EU training mission for Mali, paving the way for the launch of a CSDP operation replicating the work done in Uganda with Somali troops. And many in Brussels have started to speak of EUTM Mali, as if EUTM and more generally the EU approach to the crisis in Somalia was a relevant model for action in Mali.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Terrorism, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Afghanistan, Africa, Europe, Somalia, Mali, Mauritania
  • Author: William Byrd
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This report reflects the author's research interests and several publications on security sector reform from a financial and development perspective. It is intended to lay out key issues and trade-offs in this area, and brings in concepts and tools of public financial management which are applicable to the security sector. The views expressed in this brief do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Institute of Peace, which does not take policy positions.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Chicago
  • Author: William Byrd, David Mansfield
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Opium will continue to be an important part of the Afghan landscape—with political and security as well as economic ramifications. The ongoing security transition (2011-2014) will be accompanied by greater risks to Afghani­stan's polity, security and economy from the illicit drug industry—including through likely further increases in opium production.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Corruption, Crime, Terrorism, War on Drugs, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Karsten Friis, Erik Reichborn-Kjennerud, Harald Håvoll
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: With the apparent lack of progress and success in Afghanistan, counter- insurgency (COIN), both as a theory and practice, is falling out of favor within the political and military establishment in the US. This comes at a time when the US is redirecting its geopolitical focus away from global instability towards the Asia-Pacific and the 'New Great Power Game'.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Emerging Markets, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Nelly Lahoud, Don Rassler, Stuart Caudill, Liam Collins, Gabriel Koehler-Derrick, Muhammad al-`Ubaydi
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: This report is a study of 17 declassified documents captured during the Abbottabad raid and released to the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC). They consist of electronic letters or draft letters, totaling 175 pages in the original Arabic and 197 pages in the English translation. The earliest is dated September 2006 and the latest April 2011. Some of the letters are incomplete and/or are missing their dates, and not all of the letters explicitly attribute their author(s) and/or indicate the addressee. In addition to Bin Ladin, the recognizable individuals who appear in the letters either as authors or as recipients are `Atiyyatullah and Abu Yahya al-Libi, both of whom are al-Qa`ida leaders; Adam Yahya Gadahn, the American al-Qa`ida spokesman and media advisor; Mukhtar Abu al-Zubayr, the leader of the Somali militant group Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahidin; Abu Basir (Nasir al-Wuhayshi), the leader of the Yemen-based al-Qa`ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP); and Hakimullah Mahsud, the leader of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Given the small collection of documents released to the CTC, it is impossible to construct a coherent evolution of al-Qa`ida or its current state. “Letters from Abbottabad” is an initial exploration and contextualization of 17 documents that will be the grist for future academic debate and discussion.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Gretchen Peters
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: The purpose of this report is to understand and outline the financial architecture that sustains the Haqqani faction of the Afghan insurgency. The Haqqani network (hereafter “the network” or “the Haqqan is”) is widely recognized as a semi-autonomous component of the Taliban and as the deadliest and most globally focused faction of that latter group. What gets far less attention is the fact that the Haqqan is also appear to be the most sophisticated and diversified from a financial standpoint. This report will illustrate that the Haqqani business portfolio mirrors a mafia operation, and illustrate why an understanding of the illicit business side of the network is critical to enriching our understanding of the group. In addition to raising funds from ideologically like minded donors, an activity the Haqqan is have engaged in since the 1980s, information collected for this report indicates that over the past three decades they have penetrated key business sectors, including import-export, transport, real estate and construction in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Arab Gulf and beyond. The Haqqan is employ violence and intimidation to extort legal firms and prominent community members, and engage in kidnap for ransom schemes. According to investigators, they protect and engage in the trafficking of narcotics and the precursor chemicals used to process heroin (although to a much lesser degree than other factions of the Afghan Taliban). The Haqqan is also appear to operate their own front companies, many of which appear to be directed at laundering illicit proceeds. The broad range of business activities in which the Haqqan is engage suggests that the pursuit of wealth and power may be just as important to net work leaders as the Islamist and nationalistic ideals for which the Haqqan is claim to fight.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism, Insurgency, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Taliban, Arabia
  • Author: Harsh Pant
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Peace and Security Studies
  • Abstract: Indian diplomacy faced a major setback at the Afghanistan Conference in London in January 2010, where Indian concerns were summarily ignored. In one stroke, Pakistan rendered New Delhi irrelevant in the evolving security dynamic in Afghanistan. When Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna underscored the folly of making a distinction “between good Taliban and bad Taliban,” he was completely out of sync with the larger mood at the conference. Days before this much-hyped conference, senior U.S. military commanders were suggesting that peace talks with the Taliban may be imminent and that Taliban members might even be invited to join the government in Kabul. The West had made up its mind that it was not a question of if, but when and how to exit from Afghanistan, which seemed to be becoming a quagmire for the leaders in Washington and London.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Terrorism, War, Power Politics, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Washington, India, Taliban, London, New Delhi
  • Author: Ross Eventon
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: At its core, the U.S.-led occupation of Afghanistan is an attempt to establish a client regime supported by a military operation to pacify resistance. In May 2012, the Obama administration took a major step towards consolidating its war aims and signed the Enduring Partnership Agreement with President Karzai, which ensures a U.S. military presence for at least a decade after 2014. It is clear from this agreement, the previous memorandums on detention and night raids, and the continuing development of U.S. mega-bases in the country that 2014 is far from a “withdrawal” date.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Jeffrey Dressler
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: The Haqqani Network represents hh a strategic threat to the enduring stability of the Afghan state and U.S. national security interests in the region. The Haqqanis are currently Afghanistan's most capable and potent insurgent group, and they continue to maintain close operational and strategic ties with al-Qaeda and their affiliates. These ties will likely deepen in the future. Unlike the Quetta Shura Taliban in southern Afghanistan, the counterinsurgency campaign has not weakened the Haqqanis' military capabilities significantly. Few of the “surge” resources deployed to their strongholds in Eastern Afghanistan. The Haqqani Network has increased its operational reach and jihadist credentials over the past several years. The Haqqani Network has expanded its reach toward the Quetta Shura Taliban's historical strongholds in southern Afghanistan, the areas surrounding Kabul, as well as the Afghan north. The Haqqanis maintain considerable sanctuary and support nodes inside Pakistan's tribal areas. From their safehavens in North Waziristan and Kurram Agencies in Pakistan, the Haqqanis project men and materiel to resource their terrorist campaign in Afghanistan's southeastern provinces of Khost, Paktika and Paktia onwards to the provinces surrounding Kabul. The Haqqani Network is the primary proxy force backed by elements of Pakistan's security establishment. Pakistan's support for the Haqqani Network has increased, through both facilitating additional sanctuary and providing strategic and operational guidance. The Haqqanis serve Pakistan's interests by dominating key terrain along the border and beyond in Afghanistan's south and east, serving as a Pakistani-influenced “firewall” against national, northern, U.S. and Indian influence. The Haqqanis would also serve Pakistan's interests by being the primary influence in Afghanistan's Ghilzai Pashtun lands, as well as the tribal areas in North Waziristan, organizing these tribal areas in ways consistent with Pakistan's interests. The Haqqanis execute spectacular attacks in Kabul in order to generate a disproportionate psychological and propaganda effect. The Haqqanis have strengthened their presence in Logar and Wardak, surrounding the southern and western approaches to Kabul. They have also expanded into Kabul's eastern approachs in the provinces of Nangarhar, Lahgman, and Kapisa. The network will use these positions to increase their destabilizing attacks in Kabul. The Haqqani Network has increased their presence in Afghanistan's north, through their partnership with the al-Qaeda affiliated Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). The Haqqani Network and IMU execute targeted assassinations of northern powerbrokers who are affiliated with the Jamiat-e Islami Party. These assassinations are meant to undermine the Jamiat party and the influence of minority powerbrokers, who are historical rivals to the Pashtuns and the Pakistani state. The Haqqanis are ideologically committed insurgents, and they are increasing their territorial reach. The group also has ties to al-Qaeda and its affiliates. The Haqqanis have never given any indication that breaking ties with al-Qaeda was either possible or in their interests. Consequently, the Haqqani Network is not reconcilable. They also do not fully follow the guidance of the Quetta Shura Taliban, because they maintain a separate power base and leadership structure. Coalition and Afghan forces must conduct a sustained, well-resourced offensive against the Haqqani Network inside of Afghanistan. This campaign would likely require at least two adequately-resourced fighting seasons. Consequently, it is imperative that the U.S. retains force levels at 68,000 troops after September 2012, rather than conducting a further drawdown. Without such a campaign, the Haqqani Network will be a dominant force inside of Afghanistan indefinitely, and the United States woulf fail to achieve its stated objective of preventing the return of al-Qaeda and affiliated groups to Afghanistan. Addressing the threat from the Haqqani Network inside of Afghanistan is necessary, even if further action should ultimately be taken to disrupt the organization in Miramshah. The ANSF are not equipped to deal with the threat from the Haqqani Network in their current state. The Afghan Security Forces lack the intelligence, enablers, and sophisticated command and control required to reclaim the enemy support zones south of Kabul. The Afghan units are also under-filled and wrongly positioned for this fight. American troops in a properly-resourced campaign can help reduce the threat from the Haqqani Network to a level that the Afghan Security Forces can handle. The United States must not abruptly shift the mission of its forces in Afghanistan from counter-insurgency to security force assistance. U.S. forces cannot curtail or cease offensive operations in the areas South of Kabul in Regional Command East in 2012. The United States and its Afghan partners must dismantle the Haqqani Network's strongholds in Khost, Paktika, and Paktia and contain the organization's expansion toward Kabul prior to a shift in mission. Failure to do so will present a strategic threat to U.S. national security interests in Afghanistan.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Terrorism, International Security, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Clint Watts
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: The attacks of September 11, 2001 spawned a decade of al Qaeda inspired radicalization of disaffected Middle Eastern and North African youth and a handful of young Western men. Ten years later, foreign fighters to Afghanistan, Iraq and other jihadi battlefields appear to be declining while in contrast analysts have pointed to an uptick in United States (U.S.) based “homegrown extremism” - terrorism advocated or committed by U.S. residents or citizens.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Trevor Mccrisken
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: It has been almost ten years since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon led President George W. Bush to proclaim a 'war on terror'. This article focuses on the difficulties faced by his successor, Barack Obama, as he has attempted to move away from much of the Bush rhetoric and practice of counterterrorism. Obama came to office determined to 'reboot' US counter-terrorism policy so that it would not only be more effective but also more in keeping with what he perceived as the core moral values and principles at the heart of American political culture. For many observers, Obama has not lived up to expectations as he has not made wholesale changes to counter-terrorism policy. This article argues, however, that he always intended to not only maintain but, in fact, deepen Bush's war against terrorism, not because he was trapped by Bush's institutionalized construction of a global war on terror, but because he agrees fundamentally with the core assumptions and imperatives of that war on terror narrative. Nonetheless, Obama promised to continue combating terrorism in ways that were distinctive from his predecessor, not least because a higher moral standard would be applied to the conduct of counter-terrorism. By addressing his policies toward Afghanistan and Pakistan, Guantanamo Bay and torture, and the use of unmanned drone attacks, it is argued that Obama's 'war' against terrorism is not only in keeping with the assumptions and priorities of the last ten years but also that, despite some successes, it is just as problematic as that of his predecessor.
  • Topic: Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US confronts a wide range of challenges if it is to win the Afghan conflict in any meaningful sense, and leave a stable Afghanistan and Pakistan: Decide on US strategic objectives in conducting and terminating the war. These objectives not only include the defeat of Al Qaeda, but deciding on what kind of transition the US wishes to make in Afghanistan, what goals the US can achieve in creating a stable Afghanistan, US goals in Pakistan, and the broader strategic goals the US will seek in Central and South Asia. Defeat the insurgency not only in tactical terms, but also by eliminating its control and influence over the population and ability exploit sanctuaries in Pakistan and win a war of political transition. Create a more effective and integrated, operational civil and civil-military transition effort by NATO/ISAF, UN, member countries, NGO, and international community efforts through 2014 and for 5-10 years after the withdrawal of combat forces. Build up a much larger, and more effective, mix of Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Give the Afghan government the necessary capacity and legitimacy (and lasting stability) at the national, regional/provincial, district, and local levels by 2014. Dealing with Pakistan in reducing the Taliban-Haqqani network in the NWFP and Baluchistan, and dealing with the broader risk Pakistan will become a failed nuclear weapons state. Shape a balance of post-transition relations with India, Iran, "Stans," Russia, and China that will help sustain posttransition stability. Make effective trade-offs in terms of resources relative to the priorities set by other US domestic and security interests.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Erin Fitzgerald, Varun Vira
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US has many hard decisions to make in shaping its policies toward Central and South Asia – driven primarily by the war in Afghanistan, the growing instability in Pakistan, and whether the US should actively pursue strategic interest in Central Asia in the face of Russian and Chinese pressures and advantages, than by strategic competition with Iran.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia
  • Author: James Lindsay
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: James Lindsay discusses how bin Laden's death will influence U.S. foreign policy, President Barack Obama's public opinion, and the war in Afghanistan.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Alessandro Marrone
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In 2011 NATO initiated the Inteqal process, i.e. the "transition" of security responsibilities from ISAF to the Afghan state and its security forces. The main pillars of this process are the build up of the Afghan Army and Police and the improvement of Afghanistan's governance system at both national and local level. Progress has been made in this respect, although challenges remain. NATO aims to complete the transition by 2014, while reducing its military presence in the country, but a substantial Allied footprint is likely to remain in Afghanistan beyond that date. The death of Bin Laden has brought about little changes to the situation on the ground, while it may have a significant impact on the US's attitude towards peace talks with the Taliban and thus influence the transition timeline and nature.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, NATO, Terrorism, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Alex Strick van Linschoten, Felix Kuehn
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: For much of the international community, relations between the Taliban and al-Qaeda – as well as the Taliban's ties to the wider universe of jihadist groups – pose the core obstacle to including the Islamist movement in a possible political settlement in Afghanistan. Can the Taliban become part of a political process without offering refuge to al-Qaeda, its affiliates, and other groups posing an international threat? Today the Afghan Taliban collaborate in some ways with al- Qaeda and other jihadist groups. Whether such relations result from the context – the need for assistance against a powerful enemy – or are based on principles or ideology affects how possible it is to change this collaboration. Such an assessment requires examining empirical evidence in context. This report represents a summary of our efforts to date.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Insurgency, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Don Rassler, Vahid Brown
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: The targeted killing of Usama bin Ladin at a compound in the garrison city of Abbottabad, Pakistan has raised a number of important questions about the infamous global jihadist's local connections. It has also highlighted how little is really known about the patrons and supporters that enabled al-Qa'ida's charismatic leader to hide in plain sight, and communicate with his key lieutenants, for so many years. Al-Qa'ida's successful integration into the complex local landscape of Islamist militancy in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region is not a recent phenomenon, and since the 1980s Bin Ladin's organization has been dependent on a network of local supporters to conduct an increasingly global campaign of violence. Indeed, the inception, execution and continuity of al-Qa'ida's global jihad cannot be meaningfully separated from this local dimension, which today remains one of the least studied aspects of the organization's history. The present report aims to address this gap through an analysis of the history and organizational relationships of the Haqqani network, a single major constant that, for the entirety of al-Qa'ida's existence, has shaped the latter's local trajectory in the region.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan