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. […]
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Russian Federation and China: Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative
Abstract: This Issue Brief looks at six Sino-Russian projects that have been placed under the rubric of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Since, at the political level, China is […]
First Fiji, Then the World
How the prime minister of a tiny group of Pacific islands has become an international power player. See original article in Foreign Policy here. Immediately after his election victory in […]