Last week, Afghanistan’s top two politicians, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, signed a power-sharing agreement in Kabul, ending their eight-month standoff over September’s presidential elections. The deal allows Ghani to remain president, while giving Abdullah control of the top peacemaking
In a Covid-19 world, there is perhaps little that can still shock and surprise. Still, this week’s brutal attack by Afghan insurgents on a clinic in a hospital in Kabul’s western suburb of Dasht-e-Barchi, during the holy month of Ramadan, made for particularly horrific news, given the targets
Three months have passed since the United States and the Taliban signed an “Agreement for bringing peace to Afghanistan”. For the Americans, it aims to put an end to the US military intervention in Afghanistan, which has lasted more than 18 years. The provisions of the agreement stipulate a
Across the world, non-state entities from terrorist groups to drug cartels are taking steps to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. In Afghanistan, the Taliban has been no exception to the trend. The insurgent group has launched a public-health awareness campaign that both the Afghan Ministry of Public
The coronavirus pandemic has been dominating international news and monopolising the time of governments across the world as they scramble to respond and prepare. In the midst of this it was striking that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo found the time for a flying visit to Afghanistan this week in
A sense of déjà vu prevails in Afghanistan – it’s 2014 again. Only this time, a possible lasting peace is at stake. Hot on the heels of a US-Taliban agreement to trial a seven-day “reduction in violence”, Afghanistan’s political order faces its worst political and constitutional crisis
Albert Einstein warned humanity to beware of rotten compromises. Philosopher Avishai Margalit sought to explain this warning in an entire book. With the US and the Taliban poised to sign a peace agreement, now more than ever is the time to be wary of a “rotten compromise” on Afghanistan.
On a sunny Tuesday in the third week of January, a cargo ship named Diyala docked at Gwadar seaport, in south-west Pakistan. The enthusiastic port staff quickly unloaded the cargo. When the unloading was finished, Chinese officials operating the port, along with their Pakistani counterparts, posed
The killing of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike on 3 January in Baghdad has sparked fears of a regional war between Washington and Tehran. Iranian military commanders have declared that Iran was in no hurry to retaliate and would choose its targets
The need for a negotiated withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan has increased in urgency after the Washington Post this week published an explosive article outlining the “Afghanistan Papers”, which documents that the US government long has concluded its efforts in Afghanistan were futile and
Afghans went to the polls on 28 September, but preliminary results from the presidential elections, originally due for 19 October, were pushed back to 14 November, only to be postponed again. Officials from the Independent Election Commission (IEC) cited technical issues as the reason for the delay
On 26 October, the infamous caliph of Islamic State, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, who rose to prominence in 2014 when he announced the creation of the caliphate of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), was killed in Northern Syria. Two days later, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, spokesperson and deputy of al-
On 28 September 2019, Afghans again exercised their democratic right to vote in free and fair elections. The September presidential election was the fourth since the toppling of the Taliban regime in 2001. It was contested by 15 candidates including the incumbent, President Ashraf Ghani, and his
In the optimistic view, Afghanistan is closer to peace today than at any time in the past decades. The presidential election last weekend may have been hampered by low turnout, and US negotiations with the Taliban have halted, but one of the factors which can significantly contribute to maintaining
The fourth-ever presidential elections in Afghanistan’s history are expected to be held on 28 September, after several delays. Incumbent Ashraf Ghani and the country’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah are the two front runners among 18 candidates on the ballot.
Ghani was born in 1949 in
Ten days ago, US President Donald Trump called off negotiations with the Taliban about withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan, widely expected to be followed by intra-Afghanistan peace talks, which Norway hoped to host and President Ashraf Ghani had begun to prepare for by selecting a negotiation
Staying true to his reputation for unpredictability, US President Donald Trump suddenly called off the Afghanistan peace negotiations with the Taliban last Saturday – a major policy decision announced, predictably, in a tweet. Trump cited continued Taliban attacks on US personnel as the reason for
Last month’s Oval Office meeting with US President Donald Trump was Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s first US visit since taking office in August last year. During the meeting, Trump hinted at resuming aid to Pakistan, as well as making a broader and surprising offer to mediate between
There are major problems with the current negotiations over Afghanistan, underway since last year between the United States with the Taliban in an attempt to find a peaceful solution to the long-running war so that US troops can be withdrawn.
Women have been entirely excluded from the process, and
The US and Taliban have agreed to a draft agreement after 16 difficult and lengthy days of what is the latest round of negotiations. The talks began on 25 February and ended on 13 March, and although no final agreement has been reached, the two parties have come to terms on the question of a US
South Asia is integral to China’s Belt and Road vision. As an intersection point between the proposed “Silk Road Economic Belt” and the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road”, China sees South Asia as a “priority zone” for promoting its Belt and Road Initiative. It also helps that South
It is clear that the Trump administration is seeking an exit from Afghanistan as soon as possible. US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has signalled that a deal is imminent with the Taliban. But we are yet to see if the deal entails a framework for the withdrawal of US forces to end 17 years
The peace talks went on uninterrupted, a marathon session for six intense days, yet barely a moment in a war that has lasted so much longer.
Still, Zalmay Khalilzad, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, emerged from the negotiations with the Taliban in Qatar last month
The Taliban and the US have agreed, in principle, on a peace framework that will ensure the Taliban part ways with international terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda leading to a possible withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan. The negotiations also focused on a comprehensive ceasefire and
Afghanistan’s upcoming presidential elections are due in July and there are, at best, contradictory signals about progress on the negotiations with the Taliban.
Despite 2018 being one of the most violent years in Afghanistan’s post 9/11 history, last year also increased hopes on the
As the international community mulls speedy reconciliation with the Taliban, Afghanistan is set to witness presidential elections in April 2019. Amid a deteriorating security situation caused by the Taliban’s mounting attacks on the security forces, and the lack of any clear insight on Washington
Last month, Moscow hosted a peace conference on Afghanistan and provided an opportunity for the Taliban to participate at the international level. The Afghan government did not participate in this conference officially, although the country’s High Peace Council, first established in 2010 to
In late October 2018, the Taliban in Afghanistan launched a new campaign of attacks, taking them into areas which until then had been “peaceful”. The attacks started in the Khas Uruzgan district, part of the very province where Australian defence personnel served as part of their lengthy
In January, rumours swirled around policy and security circles that China intended to build a military base in the Little Pamirs, a remote mountainous section of the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan that forms a narrow wedge bordering China, Tajikistan, and Pakistan. A journey to the Little
For the first time, the Afghan government and the Taliban have agreed on a ceasefire in the 17 years–long conflict that has made Afghanistan one of the most violent places on the planet.
Both parties unilaterally announced the temporary armistice. The halt to hostilities has provided a glimmer
Indonesia is set to host talks among Indonesian and Afghan Islamic clerics in Bogor, south of Jakarta, at the end of March. This dialogue, part of Indonesia’s bid to mediate the peace process in the long-standing Afghan conflict, will involve the Indonesian Ulema Council and Afghanistan
For long-time observers of Afghanistan, déjà vu happens with such frequency that one feels trapped in a never-ending farcical nightmare.
This is why news of a mid-September visit to India by a joint US-Afghan military delegation to see whether the model of the Indian Territorial Army could work
Following US President Donald Trump's address on Afghanistan policy in August, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing that the US is willing to work with Pakistan 'one more time' in Afghanistan. In another hearing, General Joseph Dunford, Chairman
The Trump administration's Afghanistan policy suggests that the United States will exert greater pressure on Pakistan, but no amount of US foreign assistance or coercion is likely to change Pakistan's behaviour, especially while its security establishment continues to view US
Australia has an interesting record on troop commitments over the last two decades. We have committed, withdrawn, and recommitted at an eye-watering rate. One has trouble identifying the overarching strategy that should lie behind such activity.
In East Timor, we committed brilliantly at short
It is widely acknowledged that private sector growth is essential to increasing the amount and variety of economic opportunities in any given society. In fragile economies such as Afghanistan, private sector development plays an essential role in recovery and progress, providing livelihoods and
Afghanistan has long suffered from interference by neighbouring and regional states. Despite the presence of international military forces, the donation of billions of dollars in aid, and commitments from the United States, United Nations, and NATO to uphold the development, territorial integrity,