and the School of International Relations presents
Central Asian Reaction to the Taliban –
With the withdrawal of US and coalition forces from Afghanistan and the rapid takeover by the Taliban, neighbouring Central Asian countries are once again at the focus of international attention. Most Central Asian governments recognized the Taliban in a pragmatic decision to peacefully coexist with the neighboring extremist regime that will likely remain in power for the foreseeable future. Tajikistan is, however, denying the Taliban recognition and indirectly supporting resistance movement in Panjshir. Political leaders hope that most people in their countries will see it in the same way — a pragmatic solution to a difficult security challenge. However, the public in the region is largely split between those who consider Afghanistan as a culturally alien country and those who quietly support the Taliban's ascend to power as testament of successful Islamic movement capturing state politics. The political and human catastrophe in Afghanistan is threatening to boost autocratic tendencies and further deepen political gaps in Central Asian societies. I will discuss the rationale behind each Central Asian government's approach to the Talibanized Afghanistan and the looming domestic and external challenges to the region.
Erica Marat is an Associate Professor at the College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University. Her research focuses on violence, mobilization and security institutions in Eurasia, India, and Mexico. Before joining NDU, Dr. Marat was a visiting scholar at the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center. Dr. Marat latest book titled The Politics of Police Reform: Society against the State in Post-Soviet Countries (Oxford University Press 2018) explores conditions in which police reform is likely to succeed or fail. Her articles appeared in Foreign Affairs, Washington Post, Foreign Policy, and other outlets.
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