By Svante E. Cornell
December 8, 2023
Kazakhstan has been deeply affected by the geopolitical turmoil across the region in the past several years, which threatened to undermine the viability of the country’s multi-vector, balanced foreign policy. But Kazakhstan’s leaders have stayed the course, which has for twenty years sought to balance relations with Russia through the expansion of ties with powers ranging from China to the U.S. and Europe. In recent years, Kazakhstan has also embraced regional cooperation in Central Asia, while strengthening ties with Turkey as well. The continued success of this approach remains crucial to the continued independence and stability of Central Asia as a whole.
By Umair Jamal
September 20, 2021, the CACI Analyst
After the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan, U.S. intelligence agencies are seeking ways to maintain its intelligence-gathering and counterterrorism presence in the region. One of few options is Pakistan, which has previously provided U.S. intelligence agencies with bases for counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan and beyond. After the recent attack by Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) at Kabul Airport that killed scores of U.S. soldiers and Taliban fighters, Pakistan may open its airspace for U.S. counterterrorism operations against ISKP in Afghanistan. However, for any such deal to become possible, Pakistan would want the U.S. to only target the ISKP after getting the nod from the Taliban – Islamabad’s longtime allies and the new rulers of Afghanistan.
By Farkhod Tolipov
August 20, 2021, the CACI Analyst
In April 2021, Washington began the long-awaited withdrawal of its military forces from Afghanistan, a process that is expected to be completed by September this year. This is being done in the wake of an agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban as a condition for reaching peace in Afghanistan. However, the “victorious” Taliban began a sudden offensive in some northern provinces bordering Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The Afghan military surprisingly retreated instead of resisting the insurgents. Some even crossed the Afghan border with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. As the Taliban have swiftly moved to take control of most Afghanistan, including Kabul, Central Asia is facing strategic uncertainty.
By Richard Weitz
July 14, 2021, the CACI Analyst
A century ago, the Italian author Luigi Pirandello wrote a three-act play entitled “Six Characters in Search of an Author,” which explored the difficulty of differentiating between illusion and reality. The analyst of the recent border clash between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan faces the same challenge. The event, which saw the most serious fighting between independent Central Asian republics, offers several plausible explanations with divergent policy implications.
By Stephen Blank
February 8, 2021, the CACI Analyst
The advent of the Biden Administration provides an opportunity to give the South Caucasus the importance it deserves in U.S. foreign policy. The recent war over Nagorno-Karabakh has underlined the region’s geostrategic importance, whereas the institutionalization of a Russo-Turkish rivalry/condominium raises the real possibility that another clash could trigger a confrontation between these two powers, one of whom is a NATO ally, as well as their proxies. Simultaneously, Georgia suffers from a drawn-out political conflict among the leading political parties. In this context, the new Administration and its allies in Europe should act to improve the West’s position in the South Caucasus.
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.