Trouble at the Goshta Gate: New tensions and old wounds along the Durand Line

For almost two weeks now, tensions have been running high again at the Durand Line, the Afghan-Pakistani border not recognised by Kabul officials. Afghan troops have removed Pakistani border installations they perceived to be on their territory, security forces from both sides have exchanged fire and both governments have filed protests. Among Afghans, the issue […]

Return of the Muslim League: Pakistan after the Election

Pakistan elected its new parliament on 11 May 2013. The tiger – as many in the media have titled – has roared again: according to preliminary results, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) that used the tiger as its election symbol is way ahead of all its rivals but still short of an absolute majority. As […]

Before Pakistan’s Election: “The democratic process needs more time”

Simultaneous with the publication of our new briefing paper about the Pakistani parliamentary election next week, we publish a blog based on an email interview with its author, Ann Wilkens, a former Swedish Ambassador to Pakistan and Afghanistan. She says that the election may result in a shift from centre-left to centre-right although its outcome […]

Afghanistan’s vain attempts at wooing Pakistani Islamists for peace

The recent assertion by Pakistan’s chief cleric, Tahir Ashrafi, about the permissibility of Taleban’s suicide attacks was completely the opposite of what Afghanistan had been looking for. Indeed, Kabul has had difficulties in mobilising religious leaders to speak against suicide attacks. A long sought conference of ulama from Afghanistan and Pakistan aimed at delegitimising militancy […]

Qatar, Islamabad, Chantilly, Ashgabad: Taleban Talks Season Again? (amended)

There has again been movement in the positions marking the landscape of ‘reconciliation’ or, more precisely, of contacts and possible negotiations with the Taleban seem to be moving again. A track II meeting, labelled as ‘intra-Afghan’ talks, was held in France and, before that, the so-called ‘HPC roadmap’ leaked, indicating a more active role of […]

A Potential Afghan Spill-Over: How Real Are Central Asian Fears?

Afghanistan is bracing itself for its transition. Most foreign troops will be gone by 2014 and Afghanistan’s already controversial elections have been fixed for early April that year while peace with the armed opposition remains elusive. Afghan domestic politics aside, how is the transition in Afghanistan perceived in its northern neighbourhood, which is under-explored, compared […]

Just about over the First Hill: Pakistan’s Release of Afghan Taleban

The release of a number of Afghan Taleban by Pakistan, as announced on 14 November, may prove crucial for an urgently needed breakthrough on a political settlement in Afghanistan. It is also the first big personal success for Rabbani Junior at the helm of the Afghan High Peace Council. But too much optimism would be […]

Shelling at the Durand Line: Popular outrage building up

For the second year in a row, Pakistan is shelling Afghanistan’s eastern provinces, especially Kunar. The issue has recently become politically explosive, with calls for an army of volunteers to man the border and two key ministers being dismissed (on 4 August) over their failure to stop the shelling. Ordinary Afghans expect their government to […]

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