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 […]
Learning from Kazakhstan’s January Crisis
Introduction: In January 2022, Kazakhstan went through an unprecedented crisis. While it was since overshadowed in the eyes of the world by the events in Ukraine, Kazakhstan’s crisis marked a […]
Education and Development in North Korea: The Push for a “Science-Based Economy” Under Kim Jong Un
Abstract This Issue Brief analyzes the development of education in North Korea with particular focus on the Kim Jong Un era and the recent government’s emphasis on scientific development. Once […]
Gender Reality in Bangladesh: Issues and Possibilities
Abstract Bangladesh has made marked strides in many social development indicators such as: structural, economic, cultural, education, healthcare, and political policies. Experience reveals that the influence of patriarchy has not […]
Discovering Opportunities in the Pandemic? Four Economic Response Scenarios for Central Asia
Executive Summary The COVID-19 crisis represents not only an unprecedented economic disruption but also an opportunity for Central Asia. A specific economic policy response may trigger either game-changing reforms that […]