The CSS Blog Network

Afghanistan Post-2014: Will the Dark Days Return?

Will they be able to fight the Taliban after the Americans leave? Photo: Sally Armstrong, , RN/MOD via Helmandblog/flickr

October 7th marked the 11th anniversary of the United States-led war in Afghanistan. International combat forces are due to leave the country at the end of 2014, yet the war has remained “mission unaccomplished“. After years of conflict, NATO forces are set to handover responsibility for securing the country to the Afghan armed forces. However, it remains to be seen whether the Afghan’s will be able maintain order and stability after the withdrawal of foreign troops?

In the aftermath of 9/11, the United States and its NATO allies invaded Afghanistan in order to dismantle the Taliban regime and the core leadership of al Qaeda. After several weeks of conflict, NATO troops successfully ousted the Taliban from various cities and helped to establish a new democratic country — the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. » More

Afghans Show Restraint Over Anti-Islam Film

Protests against the anti-Islam movie in the Eastern Nengarhar province. Photo by: Ehsan Amiri

Afghanistan blocked access to YouTube for the first time on September 12, 2012 after the trailer for the highly-controversial film the highly-controversial film the Innocence of Muslims was disseminated online.

The film was allegedly produced by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, an Egyptian-American Coptic Christian and portrays the Prophet Mohammed as a philanderer and a religious fake. This sparked protests in many Islamic countries and led to the killing of a US ambassador and three other American diplomats in Libya.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that the filmmakers had engaged in a “devilish act” and that insulting Islam is not permitted by freedom of speech. Aimal Marjan, the general director of Information Technology at the Ministry of Communications told Reuters that they had been asked to block YouTube until the film was removed. » More

China’s Afghan Game Plan

The game of Weiqi

The game of Weiqi. Photo: fabiocosta0305/flickr.

MADRID – In his latest book, On China, Henry Kissinger uses the traditional intellectual games favored by China and the West – weiqi and chess – as a way to reveal their differing attitudes toward international power politics. Chess is about total victory, a Clausewitzian battle for the “center of gravity” and the eventual elimination of the enemy, whereas weiqi is a quest for relative advantage through a strategy of encirclement that avoids direct conflict.

This cultural contrast is a useful guide to the way that China manages its current competition with the West. China’s Afghan policy is a case in point, but it also is a formidable challenge to the weiqi way. As the United States prepares to withdraw its troops from the country, China must deal with an uncertain post-war scenario. » More

Regional Cooperation in Afghanistan: What Makes the Heart of Asia Beat?

ISAF soldiers provide aid at Kabul airport.

Turkish civil-military cooperation teams from the ISAF’s Regional Command provide aid at Kabul airport. Photo: isafmedia/flickr.

The new grand bargain went into its next round. On 14 June 2012 the Heart of Asia group gathered in Kabul to push forward the Istanbul Process on Regional Security and Cooperation for a Secure and Stable Afghanistan. The real potential for regional security and cooperation, however, remains a contentious issue. Some observers disregarded the gathering as yet another useless meeting which failed to take concrete steps towards a regional security architecture. Others like UN-Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon praised it as “real progress on the path to security and broad-based development”. » More

What Are Security Professionals Thinking?

From Monday the 19th to Friday the 23rd of March, our partners at the Security and Defense Agenda (SDA) organized Security Jam 2012. Over the course of these five days, thousands of experts, representatives of national governments and armed forces, international institutions, NGOs, think-tanks, industry, academia and members of the media took part in a massive online brainstorming session focused on finding real solutions to global security issues. The numbers speak for themselves: during the event, there were 17,000 logins from some 3,000 participants and 50 VIPs spanning 115 countries.

The SDA gave its partner institutions the opportunity to submit some short questions that were published as online polls during the event.  Especially considering the high profile of some of the participants, it is interesting to see what security professionals are thinking about some of the most pressing issues on the security agenda. Below we present the results of five of the most interesting polls. » More

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