By John. C.K. Daly (07/02/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
The turmoil that has devastated Afghanistan since the 1979 Soviet invasion and subsequent 2001 Western campaign against the ruling Taliban has left the country in a fragile political state, but its telecommunications sector has thrived. The Afghan government is leasing a telecommunications satellite, which will provide nationwide coverage. Currently all communications in Afghanistan are connected through other countries’ satellites. In 2001 when the Western campaign against the Taliban began, the country had a primordial land-based copper wire telephone network.
By Richard Weitz (07/02/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Iran’s growing role in Iraq to counter the Sunni militants there has attracted increasing attention in recent weeks, but Tehran looks likely to assume a more prominent role in Afghanistan as well. Iranians see challenges as well as opportunities in both countries, where actors hostile to Iranian interests are active. The civil strife in Iraq and Afghanistan easily spills over into Iran, and their governments turn primarily to Washington for military support despite their growing ties with Tehran. In Afghanistan, Iran has pursued a complex multi-layer strategy designed to pursue its diverse and competing objectives.
By Richard Weitz (05/07/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Compared with the disastrous 2009 national elections and this year’s pre-ballot worries, the first round of voting in Afghanistan’s presidential elections went much better than forecast or feared. Turnout so exceeded expectations that many localities lacked sufficient ballots on hand, while the Taliban was unable to conduct any spoiling attacks even in its traditional strongholds. Nonetheless, several key uncertainties remain unresolved that will determine the success of what should still be Afghanistan’s first peaceful presidential transition in its history.
By Jacob Zenn (the 05/02/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
One of the main objectives of terrorist and other non-state militant groups, especially those which are significantly weaker than the states they oppose, is to win the narrative. The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), an Uighur-led and Pakistan-based militant group, in its own words seeks to “liberate East Turkistan [Xinjiang] from its Communist oppressors.” Although the TIP has carried out few attacks in China, it is a frequent contributor of anti-Chinese and anti-American propaganda to al-Qaeda online forums. The TIP’s praise of several high-profile attacks by Uyghurs in China in 2013 has placed the TIP in greater spotlight than ever before in its role as a mouthpiece for the Uighur militant cause.
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.