By Tristan Kenderdine
July 17, 2018, the CACI Analyst
A strategic deployment of trade corridors is taking shape across Afghanistan and Iran as both India and China subvert each other’s trade strategies through key geoeconomic states. Afghanistan’s land corridor to Chabahar port connects it to India by sea, creating a Persian-Gulf to Caspian Sea corridor, while the Afghan air corridor to India provides a parallel, more direct trade route. By contrast, China’s twin economic corridors in the region run perpendicular: north-south through Pakistan to the Gulf, and east-west through Iran to Istanbul. Pakistan’s Gwadar and Iran’s Chabahar are thus effectively in the same geopolitical node, connecting very different Great Game trade strategies.
By Sudha Ramachandran
June 26, 2018, the CACI Analyst
A day after Taliban fighters stunned the world with photographs of themselves embracing and celebrating Eid with personnel of the Afghan security forces, the Taliban leadership announced its decision not to extend the ceasefire. This dashed the hopes of millions of Afghans who were looking forward to a respite from the war. While the Taliban’s refusal to extend the ceasefire is disappointing, it is not the end of the road for the peace process. In recent months, Afghanistan has witnessed powerful demonstrations calling on the government and the Taliban to end the fighting. President Ashraf Ghani must draw on these peace constituencies to keep the peace process alive.
By Farkhod Tolipov
May 29, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On March 26-27, 2018, the unprecedented international conference on Afghanistan, “Peace process, security cooperation and regional interactions,” took place in Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent. Diplomatic representatives of 21 states, the UN and the EU participated in the conference and signed its final Tashkent Declaration. The event signaled a transformation of Tashkent’s previous positions on Afghanistan, from past initiatives in the form of narrow formula-like approaches to a system-oriented strategy. However, the Tashkent Declaration and speeches given at the conference reveal that the approach contains too much diplomacy and too little solution, especially given the growing terrorism threat in the country.
By Stephen Blank
April 12, 2018, the CACI Analyst
During January and February, several reports surfaced of a new Chinese military base in Afghanistan’s Wakhan corridor. According to Afghan officials, China and Kabul discuss building a base in Badakhshan and China will send an expert delegation to Kabul to determine the exact site, and will fund the base and all of its material and technical expenses, including weapons and equipment. China has denied these reports as they contradict its long-standing position that it is not seeking foreign bases or intends to intervene militarily in Central Asia. However, witnesses have reported seeing Chinese and Afghan troops on joint patrols. Moreover, there is a long record of signs of a growing Chinese military interest in Central Asia.
By Sudha Ramachandran
March 13, 2018, the CACI Analyst
Afghanistan has seen a bloody start of the New Year. In January, the Taliban and the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP) – Khorasan is the old name for Afghanistan and surrounding areas – carried out four major attacks on high-profile targets in Kabul. With competition between the two intensifying and each trying to outdo the other in the magnitude of the terror they unleash, violent attacks in the Afghan capital can be expected to increase this year. Public confidence in the Afghan government has hit rock bottom.
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.