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Crisis Looms in Central Asia’s Great Game

The Taliban captured Kabul, the Afghan capital, 16 years ago, triggering concerns in Russia and China that the movement might spread throughout Central Asia. As the US prepares to withdraw from Afghanistan, concerns about Taliban mixing with other smaller Islamist groups to take control of the region emerge again. “A flurry of security officials from Nato, the US and the EU have been visiting the region trying to reassure the governments in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan that border Afghanistan, and fragile Kyrgyzstan, over increased aid and security,” reports Ahmed Rashid for the Financial Times. “US officials are also believed to be offering sales of unwanted heavy weapons from the Afghan theatre.” China, Russia and India also try to build influence in the region. Russia allows the US to move troops and equipment through its territory, but that cooperation is expected to end by 2015. Meanwhile, thousands of militants are convening in the area, and may find a receptive audience, Rashid warns, as Central Asian states neglect poverty, corruption and reforms. – YaleGlobal

Crisis Looms in Central Asia’s Great Game

Russia, China, Pakistan, India – and militants – aim to influence Central Asia as the US prepares for withdrawal, but all overlook dangers of poverty
Ahmed Rashid
The Financial Times, 7 December 2012
Click here for the article in The Financial Times.

The writer is an author of books on Afghanistan, Pakistan and central Asia, including “Descent into Chaos.”

Source:The Financial Times
Rights:Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2012.