Tying It All Together

by Joshua Foust on 9/29/2010 · 4 comments

This week The Century Foundation published a white paper I wrote for them, “Post-Soviet Central Asian National Interests in Afghanistan.” It is a fairly wide-ranging discussion of the pitfalls and opportunities of incorporating the Central Asian states into some sort of regional process for settling out the war in Afghanistan.

The war in Afghanistan poses two primary security challenges: narcotics trafficking and, to a lesser extent, Islamist extremist groups. However, these countries also have other goals, such as rent extraction from the United states and NATO countries seeking access to bases and transportation infrastructure, and broader economic goals relating to energy exports. These concerns factor into how each country perceives the war…

But if the challenges facing Central Asia are not immediate, the opportunities are. In particular the NDN, beyond any American designs for leveraging its influence regionally, presents a tremendous opportunity for the development of international trade. Additionally, the nascent steps taken in electricity sharing between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan hold out hope that those relations could be used to ameliorate some of the troubling power and water conflicts with Tajikistan. Additionally, if the countries of Central Asia are integrated more tightly into regional deliberations about Afghanistan’s future, their governments will become more active partners in the process.

It goes on, for pages and pages and pages. I’d appreciate hearing feedback.

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– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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Luther Blissette September 29, 2010 at 11:38 pm

Is there anyway to donate to the Taliban? I’m sick of North America.

Grant September 30, 2010 at 2:34 am

You could always get some opium. As long as you don’t mind funding groups that torture, murder, subvert the police and judges, bribe local officials and make their states look like international jokes.

Abdullah September 30, 2010 at 10:36 am

Your talking about America, Right?

David October 2, 2010 at 3:18 am

This is the most amusing line: “The Central Asian states should be consulted on any plan to combat transnational crime and counternarcotics operations.” I think unless you understand better the nature of these regimes (including their links to criminal networks), its hard to get a handle on their interests in Afghanistan, which are extremely complex. The report reads as though written in DC by somebody who has not been to the region. Apologies if you’ve actually spent years hanging out in Namangan, but its all a bit press-cutty. Some pretty weak sources – all second-hand English-language sources, rehashed, mostly stating the obvious. And not a single interview? There’s nothing particularly wrong with most of it, but these ideas about regional cooperation on the back of the NDN are pretty misleading, and in general it just doesn’t have much of a feel for the present-day realities of the region.

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