In a recent New York Times op-ed, “What Trump Needs to Learn from Vietnam,” David Elliot draws lessons from America’s experience in Vietnam for Afghanistan. His opinion follows those of a few others, who have similarly argued over the past 16 years that Afghanistan has slowly turned into America’s Vietnam, a quagmire, from which the United States must disengage. While studying the complexity of Vietnam War remains interesting for academics and policymakers, it offers no relevant lessons for international engagement in Afghanistan.Continue reading

Recently, this author was invited to a track 1.5 China-Afghanistan-Pakistan symposium on “Tackling Terrorist Threats, Jointly Safeguarding Regional Security” in Beijing. The rare trilateral symposium was welcomed by the three sides as a good opportunity to exchange views and to offer tangible, policy and operational solutions for the consideration of their respective governments to help them address jointly the intertwined threats of terrorism, extremism, and criminality in the region. The discussions were so constructive on the seminal role, which major regional stakeholders can play to stabilise Afghanistan, that the absence of an Indian delegation was needfully felt around the table.Continue reading

Reviving and building connectivity across the Eurasian landmass based on the commercial networks of the ancient Silk Road underpins one of the key economic goals of the Asian continent. Asian nations will stand to gain the most from increased trade, commerce and investment along the Silk Road when it is reconnected through transport infrastructure. Moreover, increased connectivity would dramatically enhance multifaceted human interaction, bringing Asian nations together to address such global challenges as terrorism and climate change that firmly stand in the way of sustainable development.

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Landlocked countries like Afghanistan are at a great disadvantage over their littoral neighbors with access to sea for regional and global trade. Naturally, the peace, security, and prosperity of landlocked countries depend on those of their surrounding neighbors. Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, the Afghan government has repeatedly communicated this fact to Afghanistan’s six neighbors, reaffirming its commitment to noninterference in the affairs of others, as well as allowing no country to use Afghanistan’s soil against its neighbors.

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