A Brief History of International Influence in Afghanistan
Many observers and commentators were caught by surprise by the speed with which the Afghan national government was replaced by the Taliban, officially the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. To many, the withdrawal of international security forces seemed to epitomise the poor communication planning failures that have plagued Kabul’s backers since the US-led intervention following 2001.
Media coverage of haphazard evacuations and Afghans pleading for help in the face of the Taliban advance reinforced the notion of the international community abandoning Afghanistan to its fate, as did evocative images of people flocking to the airport and in some cases falling to their deaths. Critics of Western intervention in Afghanistan, notably the governments of Russia and China, were quick to point out Washington’s inability to support its allies, drawing conclusions about the potential fate of Ukraine and Taiwan, respectively. Many regional states, such as Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, have cautiously made overtures to Kabul’s new rulers despite major reservations about the possibility of their southern neighbour becoming a haven for regime opponents, while Pakistan has long been viewed as an influential backer of the erstwhile insurgents.
Religion and the Secular State in Kyrgyzstan
Summary Since independence, religion has become ever more important as an identity marker in Kyrgyzstan, with increased practical relevance in the everyday lives of many citizens. This religious revival poses […]
Religion and the Secular State in Turkmenistan
Summary Since gaining its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Turkmenistan has seen an increased presence of religion in everyday life. Islam has been a continuous cornerstone of Turkmen […]
A Steady Hand: The EU 2019 Strategy & Policy Toward Central Asia
Executive Summary The launch of a new EU Strategy for Central Asia in June 2019 marked a milestone in the gradual development of relations between the EU and the region. […]
Rethinking Greater Central Asia: New American and Western Approaches to Continental Trade and Afghanistan
Executive Summary: Greater Central Asia is reeling from the twin shocks of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The chaotic U.S. withdrawal risks postponing indefinitely […]
Kazakhstan’s Crisis Calls for a Central Asia Policy Reboot
The recent crisis in Kazakhstan took many by surprise. Long considered the most prosperous and stable in Central Asia, it now suddenly appears fragile and weak. To draw lessons from […]
Rehabilitating North Korea’s Forests: The Struggle to Balance Conservation with Livelihoods
Venerated in art and poetry, Korea’s verdant mountain forests hold a special place in Korean people’s hearts. Like their political systems and economies, however, forest fortunes in North and South […]