Region

Central Asia

Stories under this heading cover Central Asia – a region of Asia, stretching from the Caspian Sea in the west to Mongolia in the east, from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north.

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News
CICA set to become an international organisation at this month's Astana summit

CICA set to become an international organisation at this month's Astana summit

The Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) is set to become a fully fledged international organisation during a summit of leaders of its members to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan on 12-13 October. A Special Working Group (SWG) meeting held on 28-29 September, has made a major advance in preparing draft documents to be adopted at the upcoming sixth CICA Summit. The main document includes a draft Astana Statement on CICA Transformation, which is designed to transform CICA into a full-fledged international organization. Other draft documents include a draft of the CICA Leaders’ Statement on Cooperation in the Field of Security and in the Use of Information and Communications Technologies and draft the CICA Plan of Action on the Implementation of the United Nations (UN) Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

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News
International community divided on Afghanistan after last US soldier leaves

International community divided on Afghanistan after last US soldier leaves

The last US soldier has now left Afghanistan ending a costly and controversial two-decade presence in the country. But for the people of Afghanistan the future is very uncertain. It is also now clear that there are deep divisions in the international community with regard to how to engage further with the situation that has resulted from the swift Taliban take-over of the country.
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Analysis
Analysis: Central Asian countries need to remain focused on reforms despite new security threats

Analysis: Central Asian countries need to remain focused on reforms despite new security threats

The countries of Central Asia are at an important crossroads. The events in Afghanistan are not going to make their choices either more simple or more easy. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have taken very important steps in the last few years on the path to reform. It is important that they stay the course, and it is important for the EU and other western countries to help them in this task. If possible this should be done without adversarial engagement with either Russia or China, even though are likely to put obstacles in the way. Central Asia does not need another "great game". It needs support so it can develop and evolve for the benefit of its people, and so that the radical elements that have been successful in Afghanistan can be stopped in their stride. 
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News
France and UK want a UN “safe zone” in Kabul

France and UK want a UN “safe zone” in Kabul

France and the United Kingdom want to create a safe zone in the Afghan capital Kabul to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians under the protection of the United Nations. French president Emmanuel Macron has said that France will submit a resolution to this effect to the UN Security Council on Monday (30 August).
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Opinion
Opinion: China may end up being the biggest beneficiary of the Taliban power-grab in Afghanistan

Opinion: China may end up being the biggest beneficiary of the Taliban power-grab in Afghanistan

Beijing can turn the situation in Afghanistan to its own advantage, argues Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed. Afghanistan has significant minerals, including rare earth metals, which China will be glad to import. Beijing  could also include Afghanistan in the “Belt and Road initiative” and use it as another land route towards Iran and the Central Asian republics via Pakistan, and through Iran via Turkey or via Armenia-Georgia-Black Sea route to Europe.