By Hekmatullah Azamy
July 2017

The author contributed this paper to first report of Central Asia Institute for Strategic Studies (CAISS)on “Current Challenges to Central Asia and Afghanistan: Towards a Better World”. Initiated by CAISS and supported by Representation of the Friedrich- Ebert-Stiftung in Kazakhstan, this project is aimed to introduce fresh ideas and perspectives, new insights, and thorough analysis to Central Asian Studies with a team of scholars from Central Asian states and Afghanistan of different background and expertise. The author submitted the paper on “Afghanistan: An Asset or Liability for Central Asian Neighbors?” in October 2016 and was published in September 2017. The original publication can be accessed online at:

Located at the crossroads of Central, South and Southwest Asia, Afghanistan has a geostrategic importance for economic integration and stability in the broader region. Its location can be an asset or a liability for the country itself and its immediate and regional neighbors. Decades of insecurity in Afghanistan have turned the country into a liability in the region. Permanent violence in Afghanistan has invited transnational militants including Central Asians and Russians to seek safe sanctuaries in the country and use it as a launch-pad for their operations across the greater region. These foreign Jihadists have entrenched presence in Afghanistan and developed stronger relations with local militants. They do not only pose a security threat to Afghanistan and their home countries, but in particular Central Asian militants also facilitate drug trade that originates from Afghanistan and “successfully” crosses Central Asia reaching all the way to Russia and Europe.

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