By Umair Jamal
December 16, 2020, the CACI Analyst
The visit of Abdullah Abdullah, head of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, to Pakistan in late September was considered a major shift in Kabul’s approach towards Islamabad. This was Abdullah’s first visit to Pakistan in his new role as the Afghan government’s top negotiator in the intra-Afghan peace talks. When serving in the previous administration as the Chief Executive Officer of the Unity Government, Abdullah declined several invitations to visit Pakistan. During the visit, Pakistan promised to push the Taliban to reduce violence and to support an “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process” – which Abdullah has demanded for years. The ongoing push from both sides is intended to build trust and could prove to be a game changer for the Afghan peace process.
By Stephen Blank
December 14, 2020, the CACI Analyst
China has offered the Taliban investments in energy and infrastructure projects in return for the conclusion of a peace deal with the government in Kabul. In return for peace, China would commence building a major six-lane highway road network across Afghanistan. This road network would facilitate regional trade with Central Asia and permit direct land access from China to Iran. However, this network would also serve as a means for China to project direct force into Afghanistan, Central Asia, or Iran if needed.
By Richard Weitz
December 9, 2020, the CACI Analyst
Russian leaders consider sustaining Moscow’s influence in Central Asia, the South Caucasus, and other former Soviet Republics one of their highest foreign-policy priorities. Yet, during the recent crises in Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and the Nagorno-Karabakh region, Moscow has displayed a surprisingly passive response to these disorders. This approach may succeed in the short run but risks magnifying the long-term centrifugal pull of alternative powers – the EU in the west, Turkey in the south, and China in the east.
By Robert M. Cutler
December 7, 2020, the CACI Analyst
After over 25 years of diplomatic stalemate, notwithstanding the efforts of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and declarations on all sides that “there is no military solution” to the Karabakh conflict, Azerbaijan has successfully implemented a military solution and taken territorial control of almost all of its lands occupied by Armenian forces in the early 1990s. The event not only inaugurates a new era of international security in the South Caucasus. It actually opens the door to improved relations between the two countries, if realistic approaches based on their inevitable cohabitation of the neighborhood can be found.
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.