Global Outlook 2017: U.S. faces vexing challenges in South Asia

A map of the government-held, Taliban-held and contested areas in Afghanistan
The Taliban are poised to make significant gains in Afghanistan this year, potentially seizing one or more major cities (source: macpixxel for GIS)
  • The security situation in Afghanistan is likely to deteriorate in 2017
  • Tensions between India and Pakistan are also set to rise
  • All of this makes South Asia a very tricky challenge for the Trump administration

The ongoing war in Afghanistan and rising tensions between India and Pakistan will pose major foreign policy challenges for the new Trump administration. It is likely that the security situation in Afghanistan will further deteriorate in 2017 and that the Taliban will increase their territorial influence, potentially seizing one or more major cities. Taliban territorial gains will make it easier for other like-minded terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda, to take shelter in the country, allowing them to plot and train for international attacks.

A separate but related and equally dangerous regional scenario is shaping up between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan.

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