By Stephen Blank
January 16th, 2017, The CACI Analyst
Recent evidence shows a gradual increase in Chinese military activity in Central Asia, particularly with Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, although China has for years denied any military interest in the region. In October, PLA and Tajik forces jointly participated in counterterrorism exercises in Tajikistan near the border with Afghanistan, following earlier activity in 2016. Whereas Tajikistan was then silent, this time it publicized the exercises, which aroused a visible anxiety in the Russian media although the Russian government has hitherto been unwilling to comment on this issue. China’s initiative could imply a major new development in Chinese policy and in Central Asia’s overall security, with lasting implications for the region.
By Sudha Ramachandran
December 15th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
India-Afghanistan relations have warmed considerably in recent months. During Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to Delhi in mid-September, the two countries deepened their defense and security co-operation and signed an extradition treaty. India also pledged US$ 1 billion towards capacity building in Afghanistan. A few days later, when the Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terrorist group with close links to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), attacked an Indian Army base at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir, Afghanistan came out strongly in support of India. The renewed Delhi-Kabul bonding is likely to have stirred Islamabad’s anxieties. ISI and its terrorist protégés could step up attacks in Afghanistan and India in the coming months.
By Rizwan Zeb
November 30th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
The terror attack in late October on a police training center in Balochistan’s capital Quetta, and the August suicide attack in the same city, indicate that despite certain headway in operation Zarb-e-Azb, terror groups in Pakistan are still capable of conducting devastating attacks and that the country’s war on terror is far from over. However, the greatest challenge that Pakistan currently faces is a lack of consensus on the terror problem and that Pakistan’s political leadership has yet to accept ownership of this war.
By Sudha Ramachandran
September 29th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Rising unrest in Gilgit-Baltistan and India’s growing assertiveness in laying claim to this region has set alarm bells ringing in Islamabad and Beijing. After all, Pakistan’s control over Gilgit-Baltistan is essential for the success of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. China is pressing Pakistan to legalize its relationship with Gilgit-Baltistan. Pakistan’s options are fraught with risk.
By Franz J. Marty
September 8th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Many accounts allege that the terrorist organization known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has expanded to northern Afghanistan and intends to infiltrate Central Asia from there. Taking a closer look, however, it becomes apparent that virtually all such claims lack a sound foundation and that the remaining, more specific hints like reported sightings of black flags also stand on shaky ground. Consequentially, and contrary to the eastern parts of Afghanistan, there is no compelling evidence of a presence of the self-styled Caliphate in northern Afghanistan and, hence, also no immediate threat to Central Asia.
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.