Afghanistan Security Future and Impact on Central Asia

By: CDR Azamat Murzabekov, Kazakhstan Navy, US Central Command: Strategy Plans and Policy Directorate; Combined Strategic Analysis Group
26 May 2021


The land that is now Afghanistan has a long history of domination by foreign conquerors and strife among internal warring factions. At the gateway between Asia and Europe, this land was conquered by Darius I of Babylonia circa 500 B.C., and Alexander the Great of Macedonia in 329 B.C., among others. For most of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century the British Empire and the Russian Empire started what was called “The Great Game.” The Great Game is a term used for the strategic rivalry and conflict for supremacy in Central and South Asia, particularly over Afghanistan.

In the 20th century, the interests of the Great Powers over the control of Afghanistan significantly increased as the disagreements between the USSR and the US intensified during the Cold War. Recent instability is the outcome of the Soviet invasion and the US led coalition’s invasion after 9/11 attacks. In this regard, the security situation in Afghanistan is a by-product of the invading forces and the quest for power and fortune by local players. The next chapter in Afghanistan’s history is the US forces’ withdrawal from the country. The withdrawal will lead the two main parties, the Taliban and the US-backed Afghan government, into conflict.

Key Points:

  • US-led coalition withdrawal from Afghanistan enables strengthening of the Taliban.
  • Central Asian countries see Afghanistan as a route for diversifying their economies.
  • Security future of Central Asia relies on the situation in Afghanistan.

Read the complete paper here.

The opinions and conclusions expressed herein are those of a number of international officers within the Combined Strategic Analysis Group (CSAG) and do not necessarily reflect the views of United States Central Command, not of the nations represented within the CSAG or any other governmental agency.