By Sudha Ramachandran

October 14, 2019, the CACI Analyst

On September 7, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he was calling off peace negotiations with the Taliban. The announcement took the world by surprise since U.S. negotiators had said that ongoing negotiations with the Taliban had produced a draft accord only a week earlier. It seemed then that the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan was imminent, yet their exit has now been put on hold. In addition to triggering another phase of heightened violence in the war-ravaged country, Trump’s decision could pave the way for an enhanced role for Russia and China in the Afghan peace process.

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Published in Analytical Articles

 By Sudha Ramachandran

June 26, 2018, the CACI Analyst

A day after Taliban fighters stunned the world with photographs of themselves embracing and celebrating Eid with personnel of the Afghan security forces, the Taliban leadership announced its decision not to extend the ceasefire. This dashed the hopes of millions of Afghans who were looking forward to a respite from the war. While the Taliban’s refusal to extend the ceasefire is disappointing, it is not the end of the road for the peace process. In recent months, Afghanistan has witnessed powerful demonstrations calling on the government and the Taliban to end the fighting. President Ashraf Ghani must draw on these peace constituencies to keep the peace process alive.

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Published in Analytical Articles

 By Sudha Ramachandran

March 13, 2018, the CACI Analyst

Afghanistan has seen a bloody start of the New Year. In January, the Taliban and the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP) – Khorasan is the old name for Afghanistan and surrounding areas – carried out four major attacks on high-profile targets in Kabul. With competition between the two intensifying and each trying to outdo the other in the magnitude of the terror they unleash, violent attacks in the Afghan capital can be expected to increase this year. Public confidence in the Afghan government has hit rock bottom.

  

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Published in Analytical Articles

 By Sudha Ramachandran

November 13, 2017, the CACI Analyst

The attack at Mirza Olang village in Sayad district of Afghanistan’s Sar-e Pul Province on August 5 is reported to have been a joint operation by the Taliban and the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP), the local branch of the terrorist organization known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) (Khorasan is an old name for the region that includes parts of present-day Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Central Asia). If the Taliban and ISKP did indeed join forces to carry out the attack, this is bad news for the Afghan government and people. However, given the huge differences and tense relations between the two armed groups, cooperation, if any, is likely to be local, tactical and short-lived.

  

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Published in Analytical Articles

By Sudha Ramachandran

May 2, 2017, the CACI Analyst

Afghanistan’s building of dams on its trans-boundary rivers has drawn the ire of the lower riparian countries. The construction of the Kamal Khan Dam on the Helmand River has caused grave concern in Iran as it could destabilize the situation in its restive Sistan-Baluchistan province. To pressure Kabul to halt construction of the dam, Iran is said to be using Taliban fighters to sabotage projects. Conflicts over water sharing have the potential to turn violent. Iran and Afghanistan need to resolve the issue through talks.

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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.

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