Reassessing the Importance of the Haqqani Network on International Jihad

A new report from the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point is a must-read for anyone interested in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and even international terrorism (OK, the report is a few weeks old, but I’m doubly slow during the summer). Don Rassler and Vahid Brown have basically changed the narrative on the Haqqani Network and its relationship with al Qaeda. They have done so by examining a huge amount of secondary and primary source data, including the first known review of a near-complete set of three jihadist magazines released by the network from 1989-1993. The authors have also reviewed . . .
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Advocating Converging Interests in South Asia

In a New York Times analysis last week on fraying U.S.-Pakistani relations Mark Mazzetti wrote that letting other countries gain influence with Pakistan might not necessarily be a bad thing. Over the past few weeks an old narrative has reappeared; if the United States breaks up with Pakistan, China will swoop in and take its place. According to several analysts Mazzetti has spoken to, the United States could actually benefit from getting regional actors engaged in Pakistani affairs. As former State Department official Vali Nasr notes, you need to convince “China, Saudi Arabia, and other nations like the United . . .
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A Delusional Zardari and the Game of Afghanistan

Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari is concerned – about Afghanistan. More specifically, he is concerned about the war in Afghanistan and its effect on Pakistan. Speaking to the Guardian’s Simon Tisdall in Islamabad, Zardari said that the war is undermining Pakistan’s efforts to restore democratic institutions and economic prosperity:

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Just as the Mexican drug war on US borders makes a difference to Texas and American society, we are talking about a war on our border which is obviously having a huge effect. Only today a suicide bomber has attacked a police compound in Baluchistan. I think it . . .
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The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan: Crackdown (2005-2010)

Whatever happened to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan? The militant group bent on overthrowing President Islom Karimov’s regime in Uzbekistan came to prominence through some very public attacks in the late 1990s. Over a decade later, the group appears to be stuck in Pakistan’s tribal areas bearing little resemblance to the movement that once stirred up fear and prompted brutal government retaliation in Central Asia. In a four-part series Hegemonic Obsessions will explore the origins, evolution, and current state of the IMU. Part one covered the origins of the group, and part two covered the movement’s split in 2002 . . .
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New study: Drone strikes linked to reduction in Pakistan terrorism

A new study by Patrick B. Johnston and Anoop Sarbahi indicates that U.S. drone strikes have caused a decline in the quantity and quality of terrorism attacks in Pakistan. The authors summarize their findings this way:

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“The data analysis suggests that while over- all levels of violence in FATA remain high, drone strikes are associated with modest declines in the overall incidence of terrorist attacks and the lethality of these attacks, as well as declines in the incidence of IED and suicide attacks.”

The findings are based on an analysis of U.S. drone strikes and . . .
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