The West has endorsed two rigged elections in Afghanistan and the military situation has never been worse than it is now. Using proxies encourages neighbours to follow suit. Watch Introduction, Main Lecture and Q&A.
Acclaimed author and journalist Mr Ahmed Rashid spoke at The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA) on Friday, 11 March 2016. His lecture aimed to make sense of the spiralling trend towards violence and militancy in the region. He argued that Pakistan’s interference in Afghan matters using proxies has created widespread problems and cataclysmic failure. For him, claims that the Taliban are being beaten are wholly incorrect and amount to a “fallacy”. Rashid is the author of numerous books including the widely read publication Taliban. His other books include Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia and Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Disaster in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia and Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
His talk looked at the emerging trends in jihad and insurrection in the region and interlinked the Afghan situation to the wider issues of jihad as seen by the governments of countries such as Iran, Russia and the Central Asian Republics all of which were involved in backing different Taliban factions in Afghanistan. He also questioned the efficacy of Pakistan’s Zarb-e-Azb operation. Continue reading
The U.S. government and its NATO allies have, in recent months, scrambled to mobilize regional and international support to advance stability in Afghanistan following significant international troop withdrawals in 2014. The most recent of these efforts was the Istanbul Conference held in Turkey last week. The meeting was organized to prepare the groundwork for Afghanistan’s political, security and economic transition.
At the conclusion of the day-long Istanbul meeting, which included a whole host of regional countries as well as representatives from Europe and the United States, analysts dismissed the conference for ‘lacking substance’ and having achieved little in terms of a coherent framework for Afghanistan’s transition. And yet, despite discouraging reviews, it is worth noting that the conference as well as what followed saw progress on at least a couple of fronts.
First, it appears that a regional and international consensus has emerged with respect to Afghanistan’s economic future.
At the conference, the United States introduced its economic vision, the ‘New Silk Road’ project that involves the construction of an extensive network of transportation links across central and south Asia, designed to turn Afghanistan into a regional economic hub. The United States also strongly endorsed the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline that is supposed to meet the energy needs of India and Pakistan and “could provide significant transit revenues for both Afghanistan and Pakistan.” Continue reading