U.S. President Donald Trump has pledged to take a stronger stance vis-à-vis Pakistan as part of his new U.S. strategy for South Asia. “We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond,” ...

U.S. President Donald Trump’s call for Pakistan to stop harboring terrorists, or else – outlined in a speech on U.S. strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia on Monday night – risks enflaming tensions in the region. Trump also called on Monday for more cooperation with India, and especially India’s help ...

The first deployments of new U.S. troops will arrive in Afghanistan "pretty quickly," the top U.S. commander for the Middle East said on Tuesday, following President Donald Trump's announcement the U.S. will continue its long-term commitment to the country. "What's most important for us now is to get some capabilities ...

The United States is cutting back on issuing non-immigrant visas to Russians.  The U.S. Embassy in Moscow will temporarily stop issuing the visas next week, and consular offices will stop issuing them indefinitely, the State Department announced on Monday. After September 1, visa issuances would be performed "on a greatly ...

President Donald Trump laid out his new strategy for war torn Afghanistan Monday night, promising a winning formula that will include all instruments of U.S. military, diplomatic, and economic power, as well as pressuring our allies for more assistance in the fight.  But there were few specifics for how he ...

In a speech delivered Monday night at Fort Myer military base in Arlington, Virginia, U.S. President Donald Trump outlined his administration’s Afghanistan strategy. The President reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to ensuring that Afghanistan does not devolve back into a terrorist safe haven and pledged to maintain a U.S. military ...

Speaking to the nation in his first prime time speech, President Donald Trump laid out his administration’s new strategy for the United States’ war in Afghanistan. “From now on, victory will have a clear definition,” he said, “attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking ...

  President Donald Trump had promised to outline the “path forward in Afghanistan and South Asia” during his prime-time address on Monday night. Although he announced the United States would deepen its commitments to the nearly 16-year-old conflict, the president did not address troop numbers or lay out specific benchmarks ...

President Donald Trump vowed in his first prime time speech that “we will fight to win” in Afghanistan, saying “from now on, victory will have a clear definition.” What that means, he said, is “attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and ...

Potential conflict on the Korean Peninsula was averted this week when the North Korea media announced that Kim Jung un delayed a decision on firing missiles toward Guam, while he watched U.S. action a little longer.  Prior to this welcomed announcement, President Donald Trump made it clear that the U.S. ...

Following the recent liberation of Mosul and Raqqa under siege, the so-called Islamic State is slowly collapsing inwards. As it does, the prospect of battle hardened foreign fighters returning to their countries of origin are a concern for governments around the world. For governments in Southeast Asia, the concern is ...

As the Islamic State diminishes in Iraq and Syria, experts have warned that returning fighters could reorganize and carry out attacks in their home countries. In Southeast Asia, this fear is greatest in Indonesia and the Philippines. However, the greater threat may be the spread of ISIS’ ideology, methods, and ...

Just days before Indonesia’s Independence Day celebration, Indonesian police foiled a chemical bomb attack on Tuesday that targeted the presidential palace in Jakarta. They arrested five suspects belonging to Jemaah Ansharut Daulah, an Indonesian Islamist terror organization with ties to ISIS that is responsible for several recent attacks against Indonesian ...

The U.S.-South Korea joint Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises begin Monday, after days of bellicose rhetoric between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – and followed by Defense Secretary James Mattis announcing there will be “strong military consequences” if North Korea “initiates hostilities.” Mattis and Secretary ...

The U.S. and South Korea will hold joint military exercises beginning on Monday, as tensions on the Korean peninsula are on the rise. U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un engaged in a war of words over the past few weeks, with Trump saying he would release ...

U.S. President Donald Trump this week decided to launch an investigation into Chinese practices on intellectual property. The move angered Beijing, which said the trade probe would violate international rules. The World Trade Organization (WTO) has for the past few decades been the supreme arbiter of trade disputes between countries, ...

U.S. military intervention to solve the North Korean nuclear crisis is not an option, according to top White House advisor Steve Bannon, who provided a rare window into his thoughts on international affairs in a call to a reporter Tuesday. “There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget ...

Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a group designated by both the U.S. and Pakistan as a terrorist organization, continues to mount attacks against Indian forces in the disputed Kashmir region. It  operates under the guidance of Pakistan’s intelligence service, known as the ISI, as part of the ISI’s regional “proxy” strategy. However, LeT’s ...

While much of the United States’ attention in South Asia has centered on battling al Qaeda, ISIS, the Haqqani network, and the Afghan Taliban, several other militant organizations, most notably Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), consistently wreak havoc in the region and directly threaten U.S. interests and security. Although LeT does not have ...

In South Asia, most of the U.S. attention is focused on Afghanistan where it is combatting terrorist and insurgent groups such as al Qaeda, ISIS, the Haqqani network, and the Taliban.  But another prominent, Pakistani-based militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), continues to carry out attacks against Indian forces in the disputed ...

Last November, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi implemented a demonetization of the country's two most popular bank notes, sparking chaos across the country as people tried to deposit their cash before it became worthless. However, one year later, the Indian economy is growing at a healthy seven percent annually, and ...

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is well known for his massive Twitter following – roughly 32 million – and obsession with taking selfies at every occasion. But it was his promise to bring the economic success and clean governance of his home state of Gujarat to the rest of India ...

India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to execute two highly ambitious programs: modernizing its military while also increasing the relative weight of domestic military production. These are both critical goals, but in the short term they often come into conflict, forcing India to choose between buying the most ...

Six months into his presidency, Donald Trump and his national security team are struggling to develop an Afghanistan strategy. His defense secretary, Jim Mattis, presented a proposal last month, which included an increase in the U.S.  military presence in Afghanistan by 4,000 troops, but the president rejected it, ordering his ...

As the Trump Administration struggles to develop a strategy in Afghanistan, Russia has surreptitiously inserted itself into the mix. In late July, reports once again surfaced that Russia has been providing material support to Taliban militants battling U.S., NATO, and Afghan forces. In some respects, this seems as though a ...

Over the last few months, Taliban orchestrated attacks have wreaked havoc across Afghanistan on a near-daily basis, leading to mounting deaths tolls for Afghan and U.S. forces as well as for Afghan citizens. To make matters worse, earlier this year, reports began to circulate in the U.S. that Russia is ...

The nightmarish threat of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program appears more real than ever, but the devil is in the details. This summer’s most recent round of tension came after the successful test by North Korea of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) potentially capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, and ...

President Donald Trump said Thursday his earlier “fire and fury” warning to North Korea may not have been “tough enough,” and he called for the North Koreans to “get their act together or they are going to be in trouble like few nations have ever been in trouble.”  "If North ...

In the wake of President Donald Trump saying threats to the United States from North Korea would be met with “fire and fury,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued Pyongyang a warning — and a call for de-escalation. “The DPRK must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit ...

After President Donald Trump’s vow that any threats from North Korea “will be met with fire, fury, and frankly, power the likes of which this world has never seen before,” Pyongyang responded within hours, threatening to strike American military forces based on the U.S. island of Guam. The war of ...

Top Cabinet officials sought to dial back the rhetoric while still pushing a strong message to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un following President Donald Trump’s vow that threats to the United States from Pyongyang would be met with “fire and fury.” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday looked to reframe ...

President Donald Trump vowed to respond to North Korea with “fire and fury” if the rogue nation continues to threaten the United States. Speaking to reporters at the Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, New Jersey on Tuesday, Trump said “North Korea best not make any more threats to the ...

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson capped off a whirlwind weekend at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Ministerial meeting in Manilla, Philippines by suggesting the United States would be open to dialogue if North Korea stopped its provocative actions. “The best signal that North Korea could give us that ...

As President Donald Trump struggles to find a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan, The Cipher Brief’s Mackenzie Weinger spoke to two experts — retired Lieutenant General Guy Swan, and retired Admiral Sandy Winnefeld, former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — to get their respective insights on ...

My first meeting with the North Korean delegation to the Six Party Talks in 2003 was instructive.  Their lead negotiator, First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-Gwan, said the U.S. should accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state, and like Pakistan, North Korea would be a good friend of the ...

In just the past several weeks, China has sent troops to its first overseas base in Djibouti, intercepted a U.S. surveillance plane over the East China Sea, reinforced its border with North Korea, and declared it will not back down from a border dispute with India. Beyond that, its militarization ...

When Chinese President Xi Jinping took office in 2013, he set out to tackle rampant corruption and reinvigorate a slowing economy, but he also set the stage for the modernization and expansion of the country’s military.    In recent years, Xi has consolidated his control over the armed services as the ...

China is investing heavily in its military modernization program as it aims to extend its power, not only in the region, but globally.   This has been a key focus of Chinese President Xi Jinping in the run up to the Communist Party Congress later this year, where he is expected ...

Editor's Note: Amidst harsh rhetoric from both U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean regime, tensions are currently extremely elevated. After North Korea's missile test at the end of July, The Cipher Brief revisits its conversation with Michael Morell on Kim Jong-un's actions and intent.  American, South Korean and Japanese ...

On Friday, Ben Wallace, the Minister of State for Security for the United Kingdom, said in a BBC radio interview the UK government believes a North Korean hacking group was responsible for the “WannaCry” malware attack, which shut down Britain’s National Health Service data system in May. “I obviously can’t ...

Since roughly 2009, North Korea has been active and noisy in cyberspace. From the hacking of government web sites in South Korea and the United States to the trashing of South Korean bank and media company information systems, the revenge attack on Sony, the infiltration of South Korean infrastructures such ...

In December 2014, while many were still preoccupied with the aftermath of the North Korean cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, South Korea was in a crisis of its own. An entity identifying itself as an “Anti-Nuclear Power Group” demanded that the country shut down three of its civilian nuclear reactors by ...

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has demanded a cut in the number of United States diplomats in the country and said it will seize two U.S. diplomatic properties in Russia. These actions come as a response to the U.S. Congress passing a wave of new sanctions against Moscow Thursday afternoon. Both chambers ...

The recent tensions between India and China have entered their sixth week. What began as a dispute over the location of a Chinese road building project along a contested border in Bhutan has drawn Asia’s two strongest powers deeper into a decades-long issue over sovereign territory and regional influence. China ...

After six weeks, tensions remain high in the Dolam Plateau (within the Doklam area), a contested border area nestled between India, China, and Bhutan. China’s road building project on a disputed portion of its border with Bhutan presents a strategic threat, according to India. Such a road would allow Chinese ...

After six weeks of tension between China and India over a Chinese road building project on contested territory, neither side is prepared to back down. Known as the Doklam Plateau, this small area high up in the Himalayas where Bhutan, India, and China share a vaguely defined border, is now ...

CIA Director Mike Pompeo signaled Thursday that a key goal of the Trump administration is to “separate” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un from control over Pyongang’s nuclear capabilities. "It would be a great thing to denuclearize the peninsula, to get those weapons off of that, but the thing that is ...

President Donald Trump has nominated Jon Huntsman for U.S. ambassador to Russia as his administration comes under ever-increasing scrutiny over its ties to Russia. If confirmed, Huntsman will face a difficult landscape trying to balance the president’s desire to improve relations with the Kremlin’s machinations in Ukraine, Syria, elections in ...

While the origins of the phrase may be traced back to Turkey, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) today represents the defining example of a “deep state.” Historically responsible for coups, assassinations, domestic political manipulation, covert action, media suppression, torture, and “disappearances” across the country – particularly in Pakistan’s insurgency prone ...

Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is one of most powerful intelligence agencies in the world, as it works to further Pakistani interests in South Asia. The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel sat down with William Milam, former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, to discuss ISI’s role within Pakistan’s political and military structure as ...