Asfandyar Mir

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Taliban security in the neighborhood where a U.S. drone strike killed Ayman al-Zawahri in Kabul, Afghanistan, on July 31. EPA, via Shutterstock

When President Biden announced the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan last year, one of his main justifications was that Al Qaeda had been so “degraded” that the United States no longer needed to maintain a military presence in a country once used as a Qaeda sanctuary. Mr. Biden also vowed to hold the Taliban to its pledge not to allow terrorists to threaten the United States from Afghan soil.

Yet less than a year after the Taliban completed their recapture of Afghanistan, the head of Al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri, was hiding out in a house in downtown Kabul, where he was killed in an American drone strike on Sunday.…  Seguir leyendo »

India’s controversial move to pull the autonomy of the disputed region of Kashmir marks a major moment in the regional politics of South Asia. The decision, as political scientist Ahsan Butt explained here at TMC this week, was motivated by Indian domestic politics — but its implications will reach beyond India. It will force a number of countries, including Pakistan, China, and the United States, to recalibrate their foreign policies — and other key players, such as al-Qaeda, will watch developments closely.

Will this increase conflict in South Asia? Here are four key things to watch.

1. The India-Pakistan rivalry is likely to worsen

Contention over Kashmir broke out soon after the British partitioned India into two countries in 1947.…  Seguir leyendo »

Supporters of Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party greet their leader, Imran Khan, during a campaign rally in Islamabad, Pakistan, on July 21. Pakistan held a general election July 25, but the early results have been contested. (AP)

Pakistan just held a national election Wednesday, but it ended in a major controversy. A few hours after the vote count began on election night, results stopped trickling in from polling stations. Since then, major political parties have alleged systematic manipulation and rigging. Results — to the extent that they are available — suggest a victory for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

The election was essentially between Pakistan’s two largest political parties, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the PTI. Pre-election polls suggested the two parties were locked in a tight contest. The unofficial results showed PTI won about 110 out of 272 seats in Pakistan’s National Assembly.…  Seguir leyendo »

Members of the honor guard stand outside the presidential palace in Kabul during Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’s visit to Afghanistan on March 13, 2018. (Thomas Watkins/AFP/Getty Images)

Is there hope for an end to the long war in Afghanistan? A month ago, President Ashraf Ghani offered the Taliban a “comprehensive peace deal.” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says the United States is open to a peace settlement in Afghanistan. And some Taliban leaders have expressed an interest in talks, as well.

For now, however, the prospects for peace in Afghanistan remain grim. There are multiple steps to a potential deal — and many barriers to success. Here are five pitfalls on the road to peace.

1) Will the Taliban negotiate?

The Taliban chief, Haibatullah Akhundzada, has not responded to the peace offer.…  Seguir leyendo »