By Bakhrom Radjabov
June 4, 2020, the CACI Analyst
Since January, COVID-19 (coronavirus) has reached the level of a global pandemic. At first, some Central Asian republics seemed to be virus-free islands with zero confirmed infection cases. Afghanistan confirmed its first COVID-19 case on February 24, followed by a closure of the borders with other Central Asian republics. Kazakhstan discovered its first cases of COVID-19 on March 13, and Uzbekistan on March 15. Kyrgyzstan confirmed its first case on March 18 whereas Tajikistan did not report any cases until April 30. Before this date, the country allowed mass gatherings, including the celebration of Navruz, which was cancelled by other Central Asian governments. Turkmen authorities have so far not officially reported any cases of COVID-19 in the country.
By Nurlan Aliyev
May 27, 2020, the CACI Analyst
In early February, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo visited Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. He was received by the two heads of states in Nursultan and in Tashkent, Pompeo attended a C5+1 Ministerial with the foreign ministers of the five Central Asian republics to stress “U.S. support for a better connected, more prosperous, and more secure Central Asia” (State.gov). These thoughts are reflected in the new U.S. Central Asia Strategy. (State.gov). The renewed U.S. interest in Central Asia comes against the backdrop of China’s growing economic involvement in the region and Russia’s strong political and security relations with the Central Asian republics. Despite the Trump administration’s declarations of commitment to enhancing relations with the regional states, the perspectives of the U.S. in Central Asia should be examined.
By Sudha Ramachandran
May 26, 2020, the CACI Analyst
The Covid-19 crisis is widely expected to have devastating impact on war-ravaged and resource-scarce Afghanistan, and could even extract a human toll that exceeds that on account of decades of fighting in the country. However, the pandemic has the potential to bring positive change. It provides space to the main conflict actors to co-operate in providing treatment to people in parts of the country that are under Taliban control and thus beyond the reach of government health workers. It will require the conflict actors to silence their guns and at least temporarily put aside their decades-old hostility.
By John C. K. Daly
April 8, 2020, the CACI Analyst
After 18 months of negotiations, the U.S. and the Taliban signed their bilateral landmark “peace agreement” in Doha on February 29, alongside representatives from more than 30 nations. Afghanistan’s northern neighboring post-Soviet states, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, are concerned whether Afghanistan’s post-ceasefire instability will intensify and subsequently spill across the borders after foreign military missions withdraw. If the unrest roiling Afghanistan erupts into open military confrontation following the departure of foreign military forces, the question is whether the three nations alone can mount an acceptable response, particularly Turkmenistan whose international neutrality stance is recognized by the United Nations.
By Sudha Ramachandran
March 7, 2020, the CACI Analyst
The Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan, signed by the U.S. and the Taliban on February 29, is a major milestone in the almost two-decade long war between the two adversaries. While it could change the trajectory of the conflict, it is unlikely to bring peace to Afghanistan. Narrow self-interest of the two signatories drove the deal, rather than the objective of peace in Afghanistan. This and the flawed content of the agreement will in all likelihood lead to escalating violence in the coming months.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.