Afghan endgame enters the home stretch

Afghans celebrating the US-Taliban agreement of 29th February 2020, Jalalabad, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan In an extraordinary statement titled On the Political Impasse in Afghanistan, Washington has admitted the failure of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s mission to Kabul on Monday to heal the political rift among Afghan politicians and to urge them to form an …

Regional states won’t oppose US-Taliban deal

Youth release balloons and pigeons to celebrate the reduction in violence, Jalalabad, Afghanistan, Feb. 28, 2020 The reactions of the major regional states surrounding Afghanistan over the US-Taliban peace agreement in Doha Saturday reveal fault lines that are useful pointers in the Afghan peace process.  A sardonic remark by the Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar …

Afghan peace comes with caveats but can’t be snuffed out

US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad (L) and co-founder of Taliban movement Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (R) signed the Afghan peace agreement., Doha, February 29, 2020  The chasm between illusion and reality in politics remains perennial. Wars seldom ended according to the script of peace agreements. The fall of Saigon in April 1975 …

Pakistan’s triumphalist moment in regional security

The acrimony over the disputed results of the Afghan presidential election notwithstanding, there has been a consensus within Afghanistan for the “reduction in violence” plan negotiated by the US and the Taliban, which commenced at midnight Friday.  Hope has replaced despondency. President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and former president Hamid Karzai (who is …

India shouldn’t lose the Afghan plot

Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah casts vote in presidential election, Kabul, September 28, 2019 India is probably the only country to hail the “successful conduct of Presidential elections” in Afghanistan on September 28. Everyone else is holding breath. Curiously, the unusually muted campaign highlighted that candidates themselves seemed uninterested in spending money on an election …

Beware of blowback from Afghan policies

The site of a suicide attack by Taliban in Parwan province, Sept. 17, 2019, targetting a campaign rally by President Ghani, killing over 20 people. Ghani escaped unharmed.  During an exclusive interview with the Associated Press this week, the former Afghan president Hamid Karzai severely questioned the rationale behind the presidential election which is due to …

Bolton’s exit impacts US foreign policy. This is how

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) received US National Security Advisor John Bolton (R), Moscow, Oct. 23, 2018 At a press briefing Tuesday afternoon in Washington, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cautioned against any rushed estimation that the exit of National Security Advisor John Bolton signalled a seismic shift in the Trump administration’s foreign policy.  …