Welcome to the Summer 2009 edition of The Culture and Conflict Review. In this edition, we are pleased to present the latest articles from our analysts at the Program for Culture and Conflict Studies (CCS), as well as two new student theses on issues we believe our readers will find of interest.
We also share with you some recent news coverage of CCS as interest in the nexus of culture and conflict grows, and the search by the United States and its allies for an effective strategy in Afghanistan intensifies.
This edition's new articles include:
And our new student theses include:
The Durand Line (Pak-Afghan border) gained international attention during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The government of Afghanistan’s refusal to acknowledge the Durand Line as the official border with Pakistan has serious implications in relation to Global War on Terror (GWOT), especially in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The atmosphere of misunderstanding and mistrust in relation to the border between the two neighbors for the last six decades casts a shadow over any effort to achieve security and stability in the region. Pakistan’s weak hold over FATA and Baluchistan has provided space in which extremist groups, such as Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, have been able to establish bases, training camps, seek refuge and currently conduct cross-border attacks into Afghanistan. This thesis looks at the history and contemporary significance of the Durand Line and argues that a key imperative of future operations in region is the need for the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan to come to an agreement that delineates the official border (currently the Durand Line) between the two nation-states.
This thesis examines the role of airpower in Counterinsurgency (COIN) in Afghanistan and Pakistan and focuses on how the direct application of airpower affects COIN in Afghanistan and Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Excessive use of sophisticated U.S. airpower and predator strikes has produced undesirable collateral damage, forcing exodus into FATA and complicating the regional situation. The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) operates under operational, technological and cultural constraints; the use of drones in FATA by the U.S., conducted without adequate coordination, planning and political sensitivity, has added to the trust deficit between crucial allies, making the use of airpower controversial and counterproductive. This thesis concludes that air power produced tactical gains but was strategically costly, destroying enemies while also losing friends in the process.
Our next edition will be published in November 2009. Until then, we'll see you next time!