Tag Archives: Afghanistan

Tough times ahead for Tajikistan

Tajikistan’s year ahead is fraught with political and economic risk, even as the nation hopes to join the Eurasian Union, which launches in 2015. Border disputes with the neighboring post-Soviet state of Kyrgyzstan have marked the beginning of 2014 for Tajikistan. They highlight the continuing political risks that the impoverished Central Asian nation faces as President Emomalii […]

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Opium poppy cultivation blocks Afghan development

Opium cultivation continues to flourish in Afghanistan, jeopardizing stability, development and health. The UN reported record high opium cultivation in Afghanistan this year, according to a survey released by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. This brings production to 5,500 tons, an increase of nearly 50% since 2012. Out of a total of 34 […]

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Hamid Karzai

Karzai Consolidates Power before 2014 Elections

Following a summer of promising electoral reforms, President Hamid Karzai is now moving to broker peace talks with the Taliban following years of failed attempts. The Taliban were removed from power in 2001 by a US-led invasion because of their connection with Al-Qaeda. However, despite being politically usurped, the Islamist group has remained active in Afghanistan. […]

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Shanghai Cooperation Organization

SCO Showcases Chinese Investment in Central Asia

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was intended to be an influential Eurasian organization that would improve both economic and security ties among members. Instead, it has become a symbolically powerful yet institutionally empty institution in Eurasia. Last week’s summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan was further proof of this sentiment. The summit turned out to be a […]

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Afghan presidential election

Complications Lie Ahead for Afghanistan’s Election Reform

With the Afghan presidential election scheduled for April 2014, just three months after U.S. troops begin withdrawing from the Afghan combat mission, reforms to the previously highly flawed Afghan electoral system have never seemed more important. Fortunately, last month, the Afghan National Assembly and President Karzai approved several reforms to the Afghan electoral process, which, […]

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Poppy Fields in Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s Opium has Regional Repercussions

Attempts to rid the Afghan economy of its reliance on opium production and smuggling have largely failed due to corruption and the lack of equally profitable alternatives. However, the opium trade does not only lead to corrupt networks of growers, exporters and officials within Afghanistan. Rather, a system has evolved to traffic opium from Afghanistan, […]

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Manas Air Base

Air Base Closure Reshapes Kyrgyz-Russian Relations

Last week, Kyrgyzstan announced that it will not renew its agreement with the United States that allowed NATO to use the Manas Air Base as a transit center for military units traveling to and from Afghanistan. Although Kyrgyzstan has threatened to close Manas in the past, in this instance it appears that the decision is […]

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Taliban insurgents with national security forces

Legitimising Taliban Rule in Afghanistan

Afghanistan rarely enters the news cycle these days. However, for those privy and indeed willing to locate news outside the omnipresent U.S. market, an interesting story is developing in Doha, Qatar. On June 18th the Taliban – Afghanistan’s ousted political leadership – opened a political office in Doha, Qatar. The launch of this office coincided […]

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Russian Mi-17 helicopter, Afghanistan

Russia Prepares for NATO Withdrawal from Afghanistan

While most NATO troops are expected to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, Russia worries about the subsequent consequences for the stability of the region. According to NATO officials, approximately 100,000 troops are stationed in Afghanistan today, and only 8,000 to 12,000 are expected to stay after 2014. However, although the NATO mission is […]

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Lazurite and pyrite Afghanistan

Lack of Regulation Limits Afghan Gem Mining

Afghanistan lacks the major gas and oil reserves of its neighbors, but nonetheless possesses a potential source of underground wealth. Below the surface of Afghanistan’s mountains lies vast mineral wealth, including precious gems. International corporations in Afghanistan are preparing to build new mines to access minerals like lithium and copper. They should learn from the struggles […]

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