Region

Will the ‘Heart of Asia’ start beating? A review of the regional co-operation process

The dragging-on of the presidential election has also affected regional co-operation on Afghanistan. The Afghan government, supported by the international community, has been attempting to work with regional states towards co-operation on security and development in Afghanistan and its neighbourhood under what is called the ‘Heart of Asia’ or Istanbul process since November 2011. Scheduled […]

From Point Zero to ‘New Warmth’: Russian-Afghan relations since 1989

After the Soviet occupation years, Afghan-Russian relations were on absolute zero. But post-Soviet Russia has worked carefully on improving the situation step by step. This strategy is based on an about-face under Yeltsin: dropping Najibullah and building a relationship with the mujahedin, beginning in 1992. In recent years, mounting Afghan-US and Russian-US tensions have made […]

Афганистан.Ру: Russian elite views of Afghanistan on the eve of the US departure

When post-Soviet Russia lost its super-power status, this not only reduced its political and military role in many regions of the world but also spending on analysis, at least on the public academic level. Even Afghanistan, a country in Russia’s immediate neighbourhood, suffered that fate. Афганистан.Ру (Afghanistan.ru), a website with the sub-heading “all about Afghanistan,” […]

Little Bridges: AAN’s new report on the slowly growing links between Afghanistan and the Central Asia republics

Reports about Afghanistan and its neighbours to the north usually lump the five former Soviet Central Asia republics together as an undifferentiated block  – ‘the Stans’. Such an approach does not reflect the reality of five countries with very different, mainly bilateral and very local relationships with Afghanistan. The distortion has only been worsened by […]

Talebs in Tajikistan? Part 2 on the alleged IMU-Taleban nexus

If one listens to ISAF and to Central Asian governments, there are overlapping networks of jihadist terrorists subverting Afghanistan and Tajikistan, if not the whole region. Few of these reports are substantiated by details that can be independently scrutinised. But they are often picked up by media and other outlets, presented as proven facts and […]

Talebs in Tajikistan? The ‘terrorist spill-over’ hype

If one listens to ISAF and to Central Asian governments, there are overlapping networks of jihadist terrorists subverting Afghanistan and Tajikistan, if not the whole region. Those networks, it is said, link the Taleban and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) with al-Qaeda and other Pakistan-based groups. Few of these reports are substantiated by details […]

The Other Side of the Amu Darya: Tajik and Afghans, neighbours apart

Despite pushes from the West and economic needs, Afghan-Central Asian economic cooperation has not taken off, yet. The people of Tajikistan, for example, are not very interested in or even prejudiced towards their southern neighbours, as they concentrate on their troubles with their former Uzbek brothers. The Tajik government and the other more or less authoritarian […]

Can Kabul Carry Two Melons in One Hand? Afghanistan and Iran sign strategic cooperation document

Almost unnoticed by the international media, Afghanistan and Iran have signed a “Strategic Cooperation Agreement” during President Karzai’s recent trip to Tehran. The document includes provisions on bilateral military, intelligence and economic cooperation. The sequence indicates importance; the agreement is mainly a security agreement. However, it also contains ideas for a number of trilateral extensions […]

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