Monthly Archives: January 2013

Iran’s Influence in Afghanistan After U.S. Pullout

January 19, 2013 – Interview with Amb. Omar Samad, founding member of Afghan Analytica and President of Silkroad Consulting, published on Iran Primer – USIP blog at: http://iranprimer.usip.org/blog/2013/jan/17/iran%E2%80%99s-influence-afghanistan-after-us-pullout Has Iran’s influence in Afghanistan changed since the U.S. troop surge in 2010? What steps has it taken in anticipation of the U.S. withdrawal planned for 2014?…

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Green-on-Blue Attacks: Results of Lax Recruiting & Cultural Divides

By Farzana Nabi, Ph.D. - The number of green-on-blue or “insider attacks” by rogue elements within the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) has surpassed 50 as of January 2013, making 2012 the highest in any single year. The issue that has stumped many – and caused NATO allies to initially halt joint operations – is…

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Complete Troops Withdrawal is a Recipe for Disaster

By Adela Raz - Intense discussions are taking place in Washington about the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Leaked reports indicate the White House is considering keeping as few as 2,500 troops after 2014. And on Tuesday, Ben Rhodes, US Deputy National Security Advisor said a complete withdrawal is also an option. Although…

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2014 Endgame in Afghanistan: Reconciliation

2014 Endgame in Afghanistan: Reconciliation

By Hamid Arsalan and Hodei Sultan – While Washington phases out its combat mission and withdraws troops from Afghanistan this year, the Taliban continues to increase its use of violence and refuses to negotiate with the Afghan government towards a political settlement. With no military victory over the Taliban in sight, the White House needs…

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Afghanistan: Obama and Karzai’s Shared Legacy

By Omar SAMAD - When Presidents Barack Obama and Hamid Karzai meet in Washington this week, they will have yet another opportunity to deliberate on an intense bilateral agenda, including the transition process, prospects for reconciliation, the nagging insurgency, a bilateral security agreement, and the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan’s future beyond 2014. However, this encounter…

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U.S.-Afghan Security Agreement: What’s at Stake?

By Javid Ahmad - For months, Washington and Kabul have been working towards a bilateral security agreement to set a framework for a lighter U.S. military contingent to remain in Afghanistan after the combat mission ends in 2014. President Hamid Karzai’s visit to Washington next week may provide him and President Obama an opportunity to…

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Nader Naderi on transition in 2014

Light News Bites

• Days before a planned visit by President Karzai to Islamabad, Afghan and Pakistani national soccer teams met for a match in Kabul—their first such contest in 37 years. A capacity crowd of around 7,000 filled the stadium amid heavy security. The Afghan side's 3-0 victory touched off a raucous street celebration, boosting Afghan national pride as foreign forces withdraw, international aid dries up and the Pakistani-backed insurgency keeps up its attacks. (WSJ)
At the sentencing hearing of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, Haji Mohammed Naim, 60, from the village where Bales killed 16 civilians in March 2012 testified: "That bastard stood right in front of me, I wanted to ask him: 'What did I do? What have I done to you?'" A jury will decide whether Bales will get life in prison or be eligible for parole. His guilty plea in June means Bales won't face the death penalty. (Newswires)
• On August 8th the Afghan Air Force (AAF) conducted its first independent air assault operation. In the past AAF helicopters were part of larger NATO air operations and under NATO command. Operating from Jalalabad airfield, over a dozen AAF helicopters (Mi-17 armed transports and Mi-35 gunships) worked with a brigade of Afghan infantry to clear two districts under the Taliban rule.. (Strategy Page)
• A music concert organized last week in Afghanistan’s central Bamyan province to mark International Youth Day drew an audience of thousands from all over the country. Masoud Hassanzada, singer for the rock band ‘Morcha’ said: “We perform rock music is a new way… but people understand our messages. The poetry we use is about the daily life of Afghans, social issues and politics.” He added: “I think no political process can be successful without cultural support.” (UNAMA)
• Afghan Attorney-General Muhammad Isaaq Aloko has kept his job despite a decision by an angry President Hamid Karzai to sack him over an unauthorized approach to the Taliban. Aleko denies the claim. (Reuters)