Category: Regions and Powers

The Important Debate We’re Not Having

Foreign and security policy impacts everyone, and is therefore too important a topic to be silenced or restricted to the backrooms of government ministries. In general Norwegians have a high level of knowledge on international affairs, not least reflected in a substantial societal interest in the subject. The world is changing rapidly, and Norway along… Read more »

Will the “October Children” from Afghanistan Get Fair Treatment?

Is Norway’s asylum policy simply strict – or is it also fair and humane? In the coming weeks, approximately 200 young Afghans – the so-called “October children” – will have their cases re-assessed. Originally these children were granted temporary residence permits until they turned 18. Thereafter they were to be returned to life as internally… Read more »

The Taliban’s Choice

The Taliban have, for the first time, been presented with a comprehensive peace initiative. This is an invitation they can not turn down. President Ashraf Ghani’s proposal at the conclusion of the recent meeting of the Kabul Process on Peace and Security Cooperation was as bold as it was surprising. The package contains many new… Read more »

The Beginning of a Peace Process in Afghanistan – Finally?

Is Afghanistan finally at a turning point – after so many disappointments and wasted opportunities? At the Kabul Process II conference on 28 February, President Ashraf Ghani proposed to launch peace talks with the Taliban without preconditions, offering to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate political group, and presenting a number of significant proposals to… Read more »

Theses on Peacemaking in Afghanistan: a Manifesto

Author’s Note: Royalist and republican, Khalqi and Parchami, Soviet Union and the West, communist and Islamist, mujahid and Talib, Hanafi and takfiri, al Qaeda and America, warlord and technocrat, Pashtun and non-Pashtun, Islamic Emirate and Islamic State, KGB, ISI, and CIA – all have for decades carried on an uninterrupted struggle in Afghanistan. Attempts to… Read more »

Afghanistan – a new chapter in the Great Game?

May the shifting superpower dynamics bring hope for Afghanistan? Both Moscow and Beijing are displaying increasing interest in Afghanistan, after a decade and a half of domination by Washington. This shift is having effects in both Afghanistan and among its neighbours. the international power play surrounding Afghanistan is changing Recent news from Afghanistan has been… Read more »

Putin Brags about Missiles and Remains Mum about Mercenaries

The annual presidential address to the parliament is usually a rather dull affair in Russia, but President Putin has certainly managed to make an impression with the speech delivered on March 1, 2018. He elaborated at great length about Russia’s military might, but before describing new weapon systems (some of them entirely phantasmagorical), he briefly… Read more »

Turkey’s Risky Adventure in Afrin

Turkey’s military incursion into Kurdish-controlled northern Syria risks straining diplomatic ties and exposing Turkey to increased terror threats. The Turkish offensive on Afrin that began on January 20 had long been anticipated. But while the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) may hope this campaign can drum up anti-Kurdish nationalism ahead of the 2019 elections,… Read more »