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The Islamic State (IS) movement has opened a new chapter in the Afpak region, changing the landscape of militant movements in the area. This article looks at the patterns of rivalry and collaboration between the Islamic State on one side and Al-Qaeda and Taliban-related movements on the other. It also surveys the way Al-Qaeda has developed during the past years where most of the international attention has been devoted to the formation of IS in Iraq/Syria, and shows that Al-Qaeda is still active, though it has become more locally oriented. Finally, the article looks at the prospects for the further expansion of IS especially in Pakistan where, on one side, a range of sectarian anti-Shia movements that resonate with parts of the IS agenda while, on the other side, there is no ideological tradition for embracing the kind of caliphate-jihadism that the IS advocates.

Varna, Bulgaria (July 6, 2016) -

From 28 June to 1 July, a 58 person strong team of defense education leaders  from 19 countries and 41 institutions convened at the Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy of Bulgaria for the fifth annual NATO Functional Clearing House, and concurrent meeting of the Education Development Working Group (EDWG).

Published in News
The regional security of Central Asia hinges on the level of stability within Afghanistan and its foreign relations with its neighbors. Afghanistan is not only pivotal in the maintenance of regional security, but is also crucial to the region’s economic and political development. As Ashraf Ghani, chairman of the Afghan transition commission, stated, “The region needs to make a choice, a stable Afghanistan … is absolutely essential.” However, there is looming doubt as to the ability of Afghan forces to be able to defend the state against domestic and external insurgent movements and to sustain the progress in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency that the U.S.-backed, NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan has established under UN mandates since the United States initiated military action against the Taliban in 2001. The year 2014 is the deadline that has been set for ISAF troops to withdraw from the war-torn country and hand over the responsibility for ensuring security in the nation to the Afghan Security Forces. Currently the U.S. and NATO forces are transitioning from a mission of combat to one of support. The participants of the “Bonn+10” conference identified 2011 as the dividing point “From Transition to the Transformation Decade,” during which the burden on the international community to assist Afghanistan in maintaining peace and continuing to develop its governmental reforms should gradually diminish. Several important questions require informed and insightful responses: During this “Transformation decade,” what will the security picture in Afghanistan look like? Who will supplant the U.S. forces and complement the Afghan security forces to establish the necessary stability in Afghanistan to allow further economic and political development in the country and the region?
Wednesday, 11 February 2015 00:00

Afghanistan 2001–2014: The Enduring Literature?

Do we have a problem with book publishers? Are we getting a reliable supply of material covering the ongoing war in Afghanistan – this far-too-long, post-9/11 conflict? That there are lots of books is not in doubt – but do they help chart a course for the future? Do they locate the conflict in ways that assist in defining its uniqueness from, or its commonality with, other experiences of violence? How might the available published work assist in the post-2014 phase of Afghanistan’s development and the necessary engagement of the international community - define that as you will—in that country’s future?