By Stephen Blank
February 13, 2019, the CACI Analyst
When he announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, President Trump also announced the departure of one half (7,000) of America’s troops in Afghanistan. This abrupt decision both damaged the U.S. position in the Middle East and undermined ongoing negotiations with the Taliban over Afghanistan. It upset all the calculations of the Afghan government, leaving it scrambling for a new negotiating and strategic posture, and undid two years of successful albeit modest U.S. policy of renewed economic and political support for Central Asia. This will allow both Beijing and Moscow to respond by extending their influence in Central Asia at America’s expense and to employ their strongest capabilities for doing so.
By Sudha Ramachandran
December 19, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On October 15, Afghan and Pakistani security forces exchanged fire. Such incidents, which have claimed the lives of hundreds of border security personnel and others on both sides, have grown in frequency in recent years. The clashes are over Pakistan’s unilateral construction of a fence along the Durand Line. Pakistan says the fence will check armed militants moving between the two countries. Afghanistan, which has not accepted the Durand Line as its border with Pakistan, disagrees. The controversial fence is adding tension to an already fraught bilateral relationship.
By Rizwan Zeb
February 8, 2018, the CACI Analyst
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) Council of Heads of Government (CHG) held its 16th meeting on November 30-December 1, 2017. Pakistan’s PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi highlighted the pivotal role that Islamabad can play in achieving the SCO’s objectives by serving as a bridge between Central and South Asia. However, in order to realize the potential benefits of Pakistan’s SCO membership, Islamabad needs to intensify its public diplomacy and improve its standing among the other member states by aligning its policy with other regional powers. Is Islamabad ready to do this?
By Sudha Ramachandran
January 10, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On November 11, a consignment of 15,000 tons of wheat arrived in Afghanistan from India via Iran’s Chabahar port. This is an important milestone for the three countries as it marks the operationalization of the transit trade agreement they signed in 2017. In addition, the first phase of the development of Chabahar port has been completed. It is expected to energize Iran’s economy and provide India with a gateway for overland access to Afghanistan and the Central Asian states. Importantly, landlocked Afghanistan now has another outlet to the sea, reducing its dependence on Pakistani ports. This will reduce Islamabad’s influence over Afghanistan.
By Stephen Blank
October 16, 2017, the CACI Analyst
The recent Indo-Chinese crisis over the Doklam area has been peacefully resolved for now, yet its repercussions risk spilling over to both South and Central Asia and beyond. The Doklam clash has demonstrated to China that it can no longer push India around, and India immediately registered that lesson in self-confidence by stating that it will play a larger role in Southeast Asia, another area where they both jostle for influence. Similarly, we can expect an expanded rivalry in Central Asia, not least within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) now that India and Pakistan are both members.
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.