by Naveed Ahmad (the 08/21/13 issue of the CACI Analyst)
The Taliban finally have an address, far from their power base in Afghanistan. The place, commonly referred to as the “Taliban Embassy” by Doha taxi drivers, is receiving mixed reactions. After its opening on June 18, Pakistan welcomed the decision; India expressed caution that the office may confer “legitimacy” to the terrorist group while China found the development as “encouraging” and “positive progress.” Afghan President Hamid Karzai continues to stall the tripartite talks besides putting on hold a fourth round of negotiations on the status-of-forces agreement (SOFA) with the U.S.
by Tavus Rejepova (the 08/07/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
On July 9, the Chairman of Turkmenistan’s State company Turkmengaz and the Chairman of Afghanistan’s Gas Corporation signed a gas sale-purchase agreement (GSPA) on the sidelines of the 17th meeting of the Steering Committee over the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project in Ashgabat.
by Richard Weitz (the 08/07/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Given all the obstacles to a genuine peace agreement between the Taliban and the government in Afghanistan, the focus of international attention during the next year should be on ensuring Afghanistan’s continued economic development, strengthening the Afghan security forces, and holding free and fair elections on April 5 to ensure that a legitimate Afghan government has the authority to mobilize the Afghan nation against the Taliban and that foreign countries continue to provide the Afghan government with critical economic and security support. A failed presidential election would pose a significant obstacle to the continuation of such assistance.
by Richard Weitz (07/10/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
The prospects for a peace agreement between the Afghan government and the Taliban have risen in recent months. Nonetheless, the rapid closing of the Taliban office in Doha following its opening again indicated the low probability of a compromise settlement before NATO withdraws its main combat forces by the end of next year. Taliban leaders still refuse to deal directly with the Afghan government led by President Hamid Karzai, adopt a formal cease-fire, sever ties with international terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda, and acknowledge the legitimacy of the post-2001 Afghan Constitution. In essence, the parties are treating the negotiations as an extension of their military conflict through verbal means.
by Gulshan Sachdeva (07/10/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Despite many positive developments in the last few years, the future of the ambitious TAPI gas pipeline project is still in doubt. All four partner countries are making serious preparations for the project. However, the uncertainty surrounding post-2014 Afghanistan has dampened the motivation among major energy companies to act as lead consortium partners of the project. In these circumstances, multilateral agencies like the Asian Development Bank may have to play a crucial role in salvaging the project. Likewise, if the U.S. administration is serious about its support for TAPI, it should put its full diplomatic and financial weight behind it.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.