BLOG POST | 9 Nov 2023

The West Can Support the People of Afghanistan via Central Asia

The "Friendship Bridge" runs across the Amu Darya River between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan | The "Friendship Bridge" runs across the Amu Darya River between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan | Photo: CC-BY-2.0 / Bradley Lail via ISAF Headquarters Public Affairs Office from Kabul, Afghanistan / United States Air Force / Wikimedia Commons

While Western governments opt to wait out the crisis in Afghanistan, a unique opportunity arises as Central Asian states choose a pragmatic route.

By Andrew Gilmour


Last month, not long before the cruel Afghan winter months began to set in, Afghanistan was hit by the deadliest series of earthquakes in years, claiming the lives of over 2,000 people and adding another burden on a country where a staggering 85 percent of the population lives in poverty. The European Union and United Nations jumped in quickly to promise humanitarian aid for the victims of the earthquakes, but the country is in dire need of longer-term help.

Despite the international community’s interest in Afghanistan’s stability, humanitarian assistance to the country is dwindling. Stringent sanctions only compound the humanitarian crisis faced by the Afghan people, who desperately need help.

Most Western governments, thousands of kilometers away from Afghanistan, have chosen to postpone the critical question of how to fully engage with the Taliban. Neighboring countries, however, do not have the luxury of distance. Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan are directly affected by the course of events in Afghanistan and have established their own bilateral relations based on that reality.

Both Western and neighboring countries have an interest in engaging with the de facto government in Afghanistan to prevent spillovers of violence, to contain cross-border terrorism, to diminish the illegal trade of drugs, and to try to address the issue of fundamental rights…

This is an excerpt of our article first published by The Diplomat. Read the full version on their website.

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