25 Feb 2019

‘The work begins’: US, Taliban arrive in Doha for fresh talks

On Monday, a new round of high-level talks between the US and the Taliban is starting in Doha, Qatar. US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad will be meeting a Taliban delegation that includes influential leader and cofounder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. Khalilzad stated that the talks, which follow a week of 

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25 Feb 2019

Afghanistan’s war killed a record number of civilians in 2018

A new report by the United Nations (UN) shows that 3,804 civilians were killed in Afghanistan’s war last year, the highest number since the UN began keeping track in 2009. Previously, the highest civilian death toll had been recorded in 2014, the year in which the United States started to

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22 Feb 2019

The U.S. Sent Its Most Advanced Fighter Jets to Blow Up Cheap Opium Labs. Now It’s Canceling the Program

The US has quietly ceased operation Iron Tempest, which was launched in late 2017 in order to deal a devastating blow to the Taliban’s drug empire in Afghanistan. As part of the program, US and Afghan war planes launched over 200 airstrikes on facilities and networks used by the Taliban for

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19 Feb 2019

Slowly but surely, China is moving into Afghanistan

While Afghans are fearing that the US may be about to “betray” them by significantly reducing its military presence in the country, China seems interested in getting more involved in Afghanistan by making it part of its 2013 Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The BRI comprises Chinese infrastructure projects in over

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01 Feb 2019

Senate rebukes Trump’s plan to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria, Afghanistan

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate voted 68-to-23 to rebuke President Trump’s plan for withdrawing U.S. military forces from Afghanistan and Syria. The opposition to the President’s strategy primarily came from Republicans, who agreed with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that Trump’s plan is imprudent, as the threat posed by Islamic State,

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25 Jan 2019

Taliban reaches agreement with US on al Qaeda, Islamic State

While the U.S. and the Taliban remain at odds on many key negotiating points, they have reached agreement on one: that al Qaeda and the Islamic State must be kept out of the country. The Taliban refuses to negotiate with the Afghani government they perceive to be usurpers, but they

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24 Jan 2019

Study: ISIS Decline Sees Global Terror Attacks Down 33 Percent in 2018

The Global Attack Index released annually by Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center since 2009 has measured a 33% decline in terror attacks in 2018 compared to 2017. This decline in numbers can be misleading, however, as it is mostly due to the destruction of ISIS strongholds across Syria and Iraq.

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14 Jan 2019

The Taliban and the Changing Nature of Pashtun Nationalism

Since the beginnings of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan in 2001, the U.S. has sought to understand the Taliban’s interactions with tribal structures and conceptions of Pashtun identity, using these understandings to build military strategy and diplomatic policy. Pashtuns make up over 40% of the heavily fragmented Afghani population, and drove

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09 Jan 2019

Afghan Taliban cancel peace talks with US officials in Qatar

The Taliban has cancelled peace talks with the US in Qatar after refusing to allow the inclusion of Afghani government officials in the talks, according to both the group and US officials. The Taliban claims that US is their adversary and that the existing Afghani government is a “puppet” government,

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27 Dec 2018

U.S. forces will stay in Iraq and could reenter Syria from there, Trump says

“President Trump said he has no plans to withdraw American forces from Iraq, a week after announcing a surprise pullout of troops from Syria and ordering the Pentagon to bring home roughly half of the American forces deployed to Afghanistan. The decision allows the United States to maintain a presence

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