The Trump administration appears keen to further reduce troop levels in Afghanistan, and for the Afghan government and Taliban to start formal negotiations. However, key security threats to the US and its allies in Afghanistan remain unresolved and a sustainable peace at this juncture is highly unlikely.
A ‘grand bargain’, first proposed by the American diplomat Richard Holbrooke, is needed now more than ever to allay Islamabad’s concerns with India’s presence in Afghanistan, although garnering the necessary public support for peace will be no simple task.
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani is turning to India for help after giving up hopes for Pakistan’s cooperation in containing the insurgency inside his country. India is reciprocating, but there are limits to what New Delhi can do.
Four days after Mullah Mansour was killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan’s Baluchistan Province, the Taliban have named their new Emir as Maulvi Haibatullah Akhundzada. The swift appointment of Haibatullah, a religious scholar who was one of Mansour’s two deputies, reflects the Taliban’s recognition of the need to protect the movement from further fragmentation. Although a conservative choice,...