South Asia

8 Items

Supreme Allied Commander Europe Admiral James G. Stavridis, General David H. Petraeus (new Commander of ISAF) and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen during a news conference at NATO Headquarters, July 1, 2010.

DoD Photo

Policy Brief - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

NATO in Afghanistan: Turning Retreat into Victory

| December 2013

NATO after Afghanistan is an organization that suffers from a certain fatigue pertaining to future stabilization challenges. NATO will not automatically cease to conduct operations after 2014, but the level of ambition will be lower. The Afghanistan experience and the failures of the light footprint approach calls for a thinking that is less liberalist "in the abstract" and more focused on provision of basic services (security, development, and governance).

Mujahedeen rebels, holy warriors, are shown as they rest high in the mountains in the Kunar province area in Afghanistan in May 1980.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Quarterly Journal: International Security

The Foreign Fighter Phenomenon: Islam and Transnational Militancy

| February 2011

"...[F]oreign fighter mobilizations empower transnational terrorist groups such as al-Qaida, because war volunteering is the principal stepping-stone for individual involvement in more extreme forms of militancy. For example, when Muslims in the West radicalize, they usually do not plot attacks in their home countries right away, but travel to a war zone such as Iraq or Afghanistan first. A majority of al-Qaida operatives began their militant careers as war volunteers, and most transnational jihadi groups today are by-products of foreign fighter mobilizations."

An Indonesian Muslim woman reads a newspaper bearing the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama on its cover in Jakarta, Indonesia, Jan. 21, 2009.

AP Photo

Testimony

Restoring America's Reputation in the World and Why It Matters

| March 4, 2010

"...[M]ilitary analysts trying to understand counter-insurgency have rediscovered the importance of struggles over soft power. In the words of General David Patreus, "we did reaffirm in Iraq the recognition that you don't kill or capture your way out of an industrial-strength insurgency." More recently he warned against expedient measures that damage our reputation. "We end us paying a price for it ultimately. Abu Ghraib and other situations like that are non-biodegradable. They don't go away. The enemy continues to beat you with them like a stick."  In Afghanistan, the Taliban have embarked on a sophisticated information war, using modern media tools as well as some old-fashioned one, to soften their image and win favor with local Afghans as they try to counter the Americans' new campaign to win Afghan hearts and minds.

A girl stands near armoured vehicles left by the Soviet Army near the Afghan village of Shahrak on Sept. 24, 2001. The land is inhabited by war-scarred people who expressed hope that the current U.S. assault would finish off the Taliban and bring peace.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Afghans on the Taliban

    Author:
  • Sabrina Roshan
| November 2009

By and large, the people of Afghanistan are driven by a desire for administration and order - not by money or supreme ideology. Despite its oppressive tactics, the Taliban regime has managed to seize power and sustain it by filling a vacuum of social instability. Wardak province, which lies just three hours outside of Kabul, is a major Taliban stronghold in central Afghanistan today. The Taliban's seizure of power in Wardak serves as a microcosm of the social and political dynamics at play in the entire country. If left unchecked, more and more parts of Afghanistan risk failing into the hands of these non-governmental, rebel powers.

Thomas Hegghammer, a joint ISP/RIIA research fellow, discusses the origins of global jihad at an ISP brownbag seminar.

Belfer Center

Policy Brief

The Origins of Global Jihad: Explaining the Arab Mobilization to 1980s Afghanistan

| January 22, 2009

The Arab involvement in Afghanistan was the result of two main factors: the entrepreneurship of the Palestinian preacher Abdallah Azzam, and the rise of a "soft pan-Islamism" promoted since the mid-1970s by non-violent international Islamic organizations such as the Muslim World League.

This policy memo is based on Thomas Hegghammer's ISP brownbag seminar presentation.

Traders from Pakistani Kashmir wave after crossing onto the Indian side of Kashmir's de facto border, the Line of Control (LoC), Oct. 9, 2008. A delegation of traders from Pakistani Kashmir arrived in Indian Kashmir to hold talks on cross-LoC trade.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Slow but Steady on Kashmir

| January 2009

Instead of special envoys and summits, the U.S. should adopt a "quiet diplomacy" approach that offers incentives to India and Pakistan for making tangible, if small, progress on the ground in Kashmir. The U.S. should offer to help fund sustained local policy initiatives in both Indian and Pakistani-administered Kashmir aimed at improving governance and encouraging economic exchange and the movement of people across the Line of Control. An initiative focused on local government and civil society lacks the drama of shuttle diplomacy and grand bargains, but can actually improve the daily lives of Kashmiris while giving them more say over their own governance.

Supporters of Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf pass through metal detectors to join a rally for the ruling party in Islamabad, Pakistan, Feb. 11, 2008.

AP Photo

Policy Brief

Pakistan Political Stability

| February 11, 2008

Since March 2007, tensions in Pakistan have been rising: the political instability surrounding both the presidential and parliamentary elections is commingling with the increase in militant activity within Pakistan proper, which led to around 60 suicide attacks in Pakistan in 2007. Following Benazir Bhutto's assassination on December 27, the extremists have upped the ante, perhaps hoping to disrupt the February 18 elections. Is Pakistan becoming the world's "most dangerous nation"?