ATbar Sahni, Ajai

Sahni, Ajai

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Radical Escalation


The July 2, 2016, hostage crisis and slaughter at the Holey Artisan restaurant in upscale Gulshan, Dhaka, was unprecedented in its character and scale in the history of terrorism in Bangladesh. It reflects an abrupt escalation of the challenge for the state apparatus and raises complex questions of counter-terrorist (CT) responses in the past, and of future imperatives.

First published in SOUTH ASIA INTELLIGENCE REVIEW Weekly Assessments & Briefings Volume 15, No. 1, July 4, 2016

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The Noise before Defeat


The US strategy in Afghanistan has seen a decade of unrelenting failure. The US has sought to repackage the killing of Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda-Taliban leaders as a grand strategic success and a prelude to an ordered withdrawal from Afghanistan. The truth is, despite this handful of symbolic successes, the disruptive dominance of Pakistan-backed radical Islamist Forces has consolidated across progressively widening regions of Afghanistan. Kabul has little capacity to control these Forces, and will simply collapse in the face of sustained dilution of the Coalition presence. Unless current Coalition policies are dramatically reversed Afghanistan will inevitably pass into the control of an even more radicalized, violent and internationalised Islamist extremist order, than the one that prevailed before 9/11, even as a dramatically destabilized Pakistan feeds into the rising threat of transnational Islamist terrorism.

First published in the South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR)

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Blind Destinies

For centuries, outsiders have defined the critical turning points of destiny across South Asia, and this does not appear to have changed. There is an evident collapse of leadership across much of the region, and an incapacity to capitalize even on the tremendous gains that have been secured in many of the constituent countries. Once again, it seems, the decisions of outside forces will overwhelmingly determine the trajectory of violence and the receding possibilities of peace, in this vast, populous and troubled region of the world.
Paper first published in the South Asia Intelligence Review, Vol. 8, No. 37
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Waziristan: A Stygian Dark


After months of ‘preparation’ – massive and often indiscriminate bombings in the region, as well as the massing of Forces, blockades and endless curfews – there are now credible reports that the Pakistan Army is poised to ‘storm’ the principal strongholds of the Islamist terrorist groupings affiliated to the al Qaeda – Taliban – Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan complex, in Waziristan.

First published in South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR), Weekly Assessments & Briefings, Volume 8, No. 13, October 5, 2009

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Sri Lanka - Out of Chaos


This article examines the process, outcome and ramifications of the counter-insurgency opration in Sri Lanka, aimed at eradicating the terrorist threat that originated in the Tamil resistance.

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