Publications By Category

Publications By Type
Articles

Books

In-House Bulletins

Monographs

Policy Papers


Archive




South Asia Security Monitor - No. 302

Edited by Jeff Smith
October 2, 2012


SURGE’ IN AFGHANISTAN WRAPS UP, LEAVES BEHIND UNCERTAINTY
The last of the “surge” troops sent to Afghanistan have fully withdrawn a week ahead of schedule, but they leave behind a volatile landscape that threatens the country’s security. Taliban-led violence and political instability have dogged Afghan throughout the surge; particularly following the rash of insider killings and diplomatic spats over the transfer of prisoners to Afghan custody. After US military officials decided to cut back on joint operations with Afghan forces earlier this month [Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced September 27 that joint operations had been restored], serious questions have been raised about the Afghan government’s capability to fend off the Taliban. US surge forces were largely successful in subduing Taliban influences in the south and southwest over the past two years, but the Taliban’s strength in their historic bastions in the east remains relatively intact. (New York Times, September 21, 2012)

CHINA, AFGHANISTAN AGREE TO ECONOMIC AND SECURITY DEALS
Chinese and Afghan officials have signed a set of security and economic agreements during a visit to Kabul by the head of China’s Ministry of Public Security, Zhou Yongkang. About 300 Afghan police officers will train in China over the course of four years, according to an Afghan foreign ministry official. As coalition troops are set to withdraw from the Afghanistan by 2014, China is looking to broaden its influence in the country, particularly in the minerals sector. This past June, the two countries upgraded their relationship to the level of a “strategic and co-operative partnership” at a regional security conference in Beijing. (BBC, September 23, 2012)

RARE LIGHT SHED ON US DRONE PROGRAM IN PAKISTAN
The Wall Street Journal has shed light on the obscure operations of the CIA’s drone program in Pakistan; operations generally condemned by Pakistani leaders but thought to be conducted with tacit assistance from the Pakistani military. According to the report, “About once a month, the [CIA] sends a fax to a general at Pakistan’s intelligence service outlining broad areas where the U.S. intends to conduct strikes...The Pakistanis, who in public oppose the program, don’t respond. On this basis, plus the fact that Pakistan continues to clear airspace in the targeted areas, the U.S. government concludes it has tacit consent to conduct strikes.” The legality of this “tacit acceptance” rationale has been questioned by some lawyers inside the administration. Top State Department legal advisor Harold Koh believes “this rationale veers near the edge of what can be considered,” say U.S. officials, but Koh still believe the program is legal. A group of lawyers known as the “council of counsels” is apparently trying to develop a new framework for the legal legitimization of drone strikes. Complicating matters, there is a lack of international legal precedents on drone strikes to draw from.

U.S. drone attacks have decreased in frequency over the past year, down to an average of four a month as compared to ten a month at the program’s peak in 2010. The drop can be attributed to tensions in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship -- Pakistan closed a CIA drone base operating from inside Pakistan in December 2011 – and the “thinner ranks of al Qaeda after years of strikes.”(Wall Street Journal, September 26, 2012)

VIDEO SHOWS TALIBAN PREPPING FOR NATO BASE ATTACK
The Taliban released a video this month that shows insurgents preparing for the Sept. 17 attack on Camp Bastion, a major NATO base. Two Marines were killed during the attack, in which 15 Taliban operatives donned US Army uniforms and breached the base’s perimeter. The video depicts men wearing American uniforms as they practice cutting a chain-link fence. A Taliban spokesman emailed the link to the video to the media, but the authenticity of the video could not be independently confirmed. This development comes just after NATO officials released their own data stating that insurgent attacks decreased last August. (Associated Press, September 24, 2012)

KARZAI SWITCHES UP LEADERSHIP, OUSTS U.S.-BACKED GOVERNOR
Afghan President Hamid Karzai replaced the governors of 10 provinces on Thursday in an effort to improve governance and fight corruption. The officials were either dismissed or assigned to new positions. Among them was Gulab Mangal who was governor of Helmand Province during the height of Taliban insurgency. Respected by both British and American officials, Mangal was nevertheless replaced by Gen. Sultan Mohammad Ebadi, who previously worked for Afghanistan’s intelligence service. Karzai’s decision constitutes a second sweep through the country’s leadership and comes after the recent replacement of several senior cabinet ministers. Earlier this month, the Afghan parliament confirmed former Interior Minister Bishmullah Mohammadi as the new defense minister and Mushtaba Patang, a former police chief, as interior minister. (Associated Press, September 20, 2012)


Related Categories: Southeast Asia; South Asia; South Asia Program

Downloadable Files: N/A