By Awamdost Pakhtunkhel (5/8/2002 issue of the CACI Analyst)BACKGROUND: Resentment among the Pashtun tribes are composed of political, economic, and religious factors. The most obvious factor is the political: the Pashtuns are by far the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, yet have been sidelined in the interim government. Though no reliable demographic figures are available, the Pashtuns compose between 40 and 62 percent of Afghanistan\'s population (the latter figure is from a detailed study done by the WAK foundation), whereas the second largest group, the Tajiks, form from 15 to 25 percent.
By By Emin Alisayidov (8/1/2001 issue of the CACI Analyst)
BACKGROUND: The intensification of mediating efforts to negotiate an agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan by the OSCE Minsk Group (of which France, Russia and the US are co-chairmen) earlier this year, produced an upsurge of now-subsiding optimism. The head-on charge by US co-chair Ambassador Cavanaugh so early in the new Administrations tenure, as well as President Bushs and Secretary Powells direct participation, indicated the importance of the region for Washington. Importantly, the mediators seem to have abandoned their often-criticized competition and have found a way to work together.
By Robert M. Cutler (8/1/2001 issue of the CACI Analyst)
BACKGROUND: In mid-December 1997 the Turkish prime minister then in office, Mesut Yilmaz, signed an agreement with the erstwhile Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin to build the so-called "Blue Stream" natural gas pipeline. Turkish press reports this spring led state prosecutors to examine the process by which the contract for construction of the Turkish segment was awarded, allegedly without tender. Political pressure forced the resignation, on April 26, of Cumhur Ersumer, the energy minister and a member of the Motherland Party, two days after the indictment on charges of corruption of fifteen government officials who, according to press reports, named Ersumer in connection with the probe.
By Ambassador Grant Smith (8/1/2001 issue of the CACI Analyst)
BACKGROUND: Opium production in Afghanistan surged at the end of the 1990s, rising to 4600 tons in 1999, or 75 per cent of the worlds total, according to UNDCP estimates. This dramatically increased output was able to reach European markets not only through traditional routes via Pakistan and Iran, but also through the Central Asian republics of the former Soviet Union, especially Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. In 1995, the flow through Tajikistan was in the form of opium, most of which went from the Badakhshan province of Afghanistan through the Gorno-Badakhshan region of Tajikistan to Osh, in Kyrgyzstan.
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.