By Sudha Ramachandran
April 27, 2021, the CACI Analyst
A new railway line running between Khaf in Iran and Herat in Afghanistan has generated much optimism in the two countries as it has the potential to boost bilateral travel and trade. The railway link is important to the larger region as well as it is part of the ambitious Five Nation Railway Corridor project. While there are great expectations of the FNRC project and the Khaf-Herat railway link’s recent inauguration in the participating countries, the road ahead will not be easy and the project faces implementation problems as well as competition from rival projects.
By Farkhod Tolipov
April 21, 2021, the CACI Analyst
April 1, 2021, saw the reopening of the long-awaited road connecting the Uzbek Sokh enclave, located within Kyrgyzstan, with Uzbekistan’s mainland, allowing free movement of cars and pedestrians. This became possible after the visit of Kyrgyzstan’s newly elected President Sadyr Japarov to Uzbekistan in March 2021, during which the two states announced their determination to eliminate all remaining border problems between them. Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan demonstrated and confirmed their relationship as strategic partners and provided a new example of Central Asian cooperation.
By Orhan Gafarli
January 28, 2021, the CACI Analyst
The Second Karabakh War lasted for 44 days, ending on November 10, 2020 with the 9-point ceasefire agreement agreed by Azerbaijan and Armenia under Russian mediation. According to the ceasefire, the Armenian side will withdraw from the seven regions surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh; a Russian Peace Force will control the Lachin corridor connecting Karabakh with Armenia and Russia’s Border Service (FSB) will supervise the highway between Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan. Turkey is also a party to ensuring compliance with the ceasefire, setting up observation points and cooperating with Russia regarding negotiations between the parties. The end of the war might eventually bring the parties to a peace agreement and allow for regular overland transport between Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey. This perspective could help revive the Silk Road between East and West in the South Caucasus.
By Farkhod Tolipov
January 26, 2021, the CACI Analyst
The third Consultative meeting of the five presidents of the Central Asian countries was scheduled for October 2020 to be held in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. However, it was postponed to take place in another country – Turkmenistan in 2021. This surprising delay raised concern about the reluctance of Central Asian leaders to reinvigorate the process of regional integration and about invisible geopolitical forces that slow it down. Explanations for the delayed meeting unconvincingly referred to the COVID-19 pandemic and its coincidence with disturbances in Kyrgyzstan in a situation where serious steps toward regional integration are urgently needed.
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.
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.