Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and the other Central Asian republics have deep historical and cultural ties and increasingly important economic relations with Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has put forward a vision of Afghanistan as a roundabout for Asia, linking the markets and peoples of Central and South Asia in mutual prosperity. With ongoing efforts to establish enduring peace in Afghanistan, there will need to be extensive regional support and consensus from Afghanistan’s northern neighbors. And given the increased challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, regional cooperation is more critical than ever to ensure peace and stability throughout the region.

Several Central Asian countries have already become involved in the peace process.  Uzbekistan played a constructive role in the recent efforts for peace by hosting the Tashkent Conference of major international parties, which reaffirmed strong support for intra-Afghan talks with the Taliban without preconditions. And in recent years, Kazakhstan has provided both trade and aid to support key economic and social initiatives in Afghanistan for higher education, essential goods, and infrastructure.  

On July 24 USIP hosted Ambassadors Roya Rahmani of Afghanistan, Javlon Vakhavbov of Uzbekistan, and Erzhan Kazykhanov of Kazakhstan for a virtual discussion on how the peace process can improve opportunities for greater regional connectivity and stability around areas of mutual interest, including security, trade, and transit. U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad provided remarks on the important role of Central Asia in the Afghan peace process.

Speakers

Her Excellency Roya Rahmani
Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United States

His Excellency Javlon Vakhabov
Ambassador of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the United States 

His Excellency Erzhan Kazykhanov  
Ambassdor of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United States 

His Excellency Zalmay Khalilzad
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation

Andrew Wilder, welcoming remarks 
Vice President, Asia Center, U.S. Institute of Peace

Scott Worden, moderator
Director, Afghanistan and Central Asia Programs, U.S. Institute of Peace

Related Publications

Afghanistan: Can Central Asia Help Spur Peace with the Taliban?

Afghanistan: Can Central Asia Help Spur Peace with the Taliban?

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

By: Adam Gallagher

Afghanistan’s peace process could be taking a major step forward in August with the potential commencement of intra-Afghan talks, said the U.S. chief negotiator on Friday. “This is an important moment for Afghanistan and for the region—perhaps a defining moment,” said Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad. Peace in Afghanistan would redound to the benefit of the entire region. As the peace process stumbles forward, one critical but often overlooked element is the role of Afghanistan’s Central Asian neighbors.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

Legislature and Legislative Elections in Afghanistan: An Analysis

Legislature and Legislative Elections in Afghanistan: An Analysis

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

By: A. Farid Tookhy

Afghanistan’s newest Wolesi Jirga—the lower house of the National Assembly—boasts a younger and more educated membership than those elected in either 2005 or 2010. Its representativeness, however, is uneven and problematic. This report offers a comparative profile of the Wolesi Jirgas elected in 2005, 2010, and 2018, highlighting issues salient to the reforms Afghanistan needs to undertake if it is to hold credible national elections that yield truly representative elected institutions.

Type: Special Report

Democracy & Governance

U.S., Russian interests overlap in Afghanistan. So, why offer bounties to the Taliban?

U.S., Russian interests overlap in Afghanistan. So, why offer bounties to the Taliban?

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

By: Andrew Wilder

Recent intelligence reports indicating that Russian bounties paid to the Taliban to kill U.S. troops have bolstered American and Afghan officials long-held allegations that Moscow has been engaged in clandestine operations to undermine the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. Russia’s support for the Taliban, however, has largely been tactical in nature. Both Washington and Moscow ultimately have a converging strategic interest in a relatively stable Afghanistan without a long-term U.S. presence that will not be a haven for transnational terrorists. USIP’s Andrew Wilder looks at what this means for the decades-long Afghan conflict.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Global Policy

View All Publications