Last week, Turkmenistan’s president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, gathered regional leaders in his marble capital ostensibly to mark Navruz, the Persian New Year. But he seemed more interested in talking gas and transportation deals than jumping over any fires, as Zoroastrian tradition instructs.
The United States is facing some interesting diplomatic choices in South Asia. Washington is no doubt cheered by Turkmenistan’s recent commitment to ship natural gas via Afghanistan to India and Pakistan.
It’s been over two years since the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks released a trove of once classified US State Department cables. According to the State Department’s former chief spokesman, the WikiLeaks episode had less of an adverse impact than originally feared at the time.
KONAR, Afghanistan -- Local Afghan officials have called for a military intervention in the country's northeast after scores of suspected Pakistani Taliban fighters overran several districts in Nuristan, a remote province bordering Pakistan.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has named a new head of the country's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, a branch of government crucial to fighting extremism but questioned as to where its true allegiances lie.
Lieutenant General Zaheer-ul-Islam is the man set to take over for the outgoing spy chief, Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, who was due to retire on March 18.
The Northern Distribution Network, the key re-supply route for US and NATO forces fighting in Afghanistan, is set to experience a spike in traffic due to the closure of the Pakistani-Afghan border. But it will take several weeks for the United States and NATO to work out the logistics of rerouting cargo.
Ancient Persia was a heavily trafficked corridor on the Silk Road, the transcontinental trade route between China and the West that flourished centuries ago. But in Washington’s imagining of a 21st century version of the Silk Road, Iran seems set to be bypassed.