Dr. Suhrob Buranov from the Tashkent State College of Oriental Research writes about some scientific debates about whether or not Afghanistan belongs to an integral a part of Central or South Asia. Regardless of the totally different approaches, the knowledgeable makes an attempt to find out Afghanistan’s function as a bridge that connects Central and South Asian areas.
Varied types of negotiations are going down on the bottom of Afghanistan to make sure peace and settle the long-lasting conflict. The withdrawal of overseas troops from Afghanistan and the simultaneous begin of inter-Afghan negotiations, in addition to inner conflicts and sustainable financial growth on this nation, are specifically scientific curiosity. Subsequently, the analysis is concentrated on the geopolitical points of the inter-Afghan peace talks and the affect of exterior forces on Afghanistan’s inner affairs. On the similar time, the method for recognizing Afghanistan not as a risk to international peace and safety, however as an element of strategic alternatives for the event of Central and South Asia has grow to be a key object of analysis and made the implementation of efficient mechanisms a precedence. On this regard, the problems of restoring the historic place of contemporary Afghanistan in connecting Central and South Asia, together with the additional acceleration of those processes, play an essential function within the diplomacy of Uzbekistan.
Afghanistan is a mysterious nation in its historical past and at this time, trapped in main geopolitical video games and inner conflicts. The area during which Afghanistan is situated will robotically have a optimistic or unfavorable affect on the geopolitical transformation processes of the whole Asian continent. French diplomat Rene Dollot as soon as in contrast Afghanistan to “Asian Switzerland” (Dollot, 1937, p.15). This enables us to verify that in its time, this nation was essentially the most secure nation on the Asian continent. As Pakistani author Muhammad Iqbal rightly describes, “Asia is a physique of water and flowers. Afghanistan is its coronary heart. If there may be instability in Afghanistan, Asia is unstable. If there may be peace in Afghanistan, Asia is peaceable” (Coronary heart of Asia, 2015). Given the competitors of main powers and the battle of geopolitical pursuits in Afghanistan at this time, it’s believed that the geopolitical significance of this nation might be outlined as follows:
– Geographically, Afghanistan is situated within the coronary heart of Eurasia. Afghanistan may be very near the Commonwealth of Impartial States (CIS), which is surrounded by the nations with nuclear weapons corresponding to China, Pakistan and India, in addition to the nations with nuclear applications corresponding to Iran. It needs to be famous that Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan account for about 40% of the full state border of Afghanistan;
– From a geo-economic perspective, Afghanistan is a crossroad of areas with international reserves of oil, gasoline, uranium and different strategic assets. This issue, in essence, additionally signifies that Afghanistan is a crossroad of transport and commerce corridors. Naturally, main energy facilities corresponding to america and Russia, in addition to China and India, that are recognized world wide for his or her potential main financial growth, have nice geo-economic pursuits right here;
– From a military-strategic perspective, Afghanistan is a vital hyperlink in regional and worldwide safety. Safety and military-strategic points on this nation are among the many essential objectives and goals set by such influential buildings because the North Atlantic Treaty Group (NATO), the Collective Safety Treaty Group (CSTO), the Shanghai Cooperation Group (SCO) and the CIS.
The geopolitical characteristic of the Afghan drawback is that, in parallel, it entails a variety of home, regional and worldwide forces. Due to this, the issue can incorporate all of the elements to play the principle function within the reflection of geopolitical theories and ideas. You will need to notice that the geopolitical views on the Afghan drawback and approaches to its answer nonetheless haven’t been assembly the anticipated outcomes. Many of those approaches and views current complicated challenges whereas portraying the unfavorable points of the Afghan drawback. This in itself, demonstrates the necessity to interpret the Afghan drawback by way of constructive theories and optimistic scientific views based mostly on fashionable approaches as one of many pressing duties. Observing the theoretical views and approaches we current beneath might also present extra scientific insights into theories about Afghanistan:
From our perspective, the theoretical method to “Afghan dualism” (Buranov, 2020, p.31-32) needs to be added within the checklist of geopolitical views on Afghanistan. It’s noticed that the essence of the speculation of “Afghan dualism” might be mirrored in two methods.
1. Afghan nationwide dualism. Controversial views on the institution of Afghan statehood on the idea of state or tribal governance, unitary or federal, pure Islamic or democratic, Japanese or Western fashions replicate the Afghan nationwide dualism. Beneficial details about the dualistic points of the nationwide statehood of Afghanistan might be discovered within the researches of well-known consultants corresponding to Barnett Rubin, Thomas Barfield, Benjamin Hopkins, Liz Vily and Afghan scholar Nabi Misdak (Rubin, 2013, Barfield, 2010, Hopkins, 2008, Vily, 2012, Misdak, 2006).
2. Afghan regional dualism. It may be seen that Afghan regional dualism is mirrored in two totally different approaches to the geographical affiliation of this nation.
In line with the primary method, Afghanistan is a part of the South Asian area, which is assessed by the theoretical views of Af-Pak. It’s recognized that the time period “Af-Pak” is used to seek advice from the truth that American students think about Afghanistan and Pakistan as a single military-political area. The time period started to be extensively utilized in scholarly circles within the early years of the twenty first century to theoretically describe U.S. coverage in Afghanistan. In line with studies, the creator of the idea of “Af-Pak” is an American diplomat Richard Holbrooke. In March 2008, Holbrooke said that Afghanistan and Pakistan needs to be acknowledged as a single military-political area for the next causes:
1. The existence of a standard theater of navy operations on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border;
2. The unresolved border points between Afghanistan and Pakistan underneath the “Durand Line” in 1893;
3. Using an open border regime between Afghanistan and Pakistan (primarily a “tribal zone”) by Taliban forces and different terrorist networks (Fenenko, 2013, p.24-25).
Moreover, it’s noteworthy that Afghanistan is a full member of SAARC, the principle group for the mixing of the South Asian area.
In line with the second method, Afghanistan is geographically an integral a part of Central Asia. In our perspective, it’s scientifically logical to name it an alternative choice to the time period AfSouthAsia with the time period AfCentAsia. This idea is a time period that defines Afghanistan and Central Asia as a single area. In assessing Afghanistan as an integral a part of the Central Asian area, it’s essential to concentrate to the next points:
– Geographical side. In line with its location, Afghanistan is named the “Coronary heart of Asia” as it’s central a part of Asia, and theoretically embodies Mackinder’s “Heartland” concept. Alexandr Humboldt, a German scientist who launched the time period Central Asia to science, described intimately the mountain ranges, local weather and construction of the area, together with Afghanistan on his map (Humboldt, 1843, p.581-582). In his doctoral dissertation, Capt. Joseph McCarthy, an American navy knowledgeable, argues that Afghanistan needs to be seen not solely as a particular a part of Central Asia, however because the enduring coronary heart of the area (McCarthy, 2018).
– Historic side. The territories of present-day Central Asia and Afghanistan had been an interconnected area through the statehood of the Greco-Bactrian, Kushan Kingdoms, Ghaznavid, Timurid, and Baburi dynasties. Uzbek professor Ravshan Alimov in his work cites for example that a big a part of fashionable Afghanistan was a part of the Bukhara Khanate for plenty of centuries, and the town of Balkh, the place it turned the residence of the heirs of the Bukhara Khan (khantora) (Alimov, 2005, p.22). As well as, the graves of nice thinkers corresponding to Alisher Navoi, Mavlono Lutfi, Kamoliddin Behzod, Hussein Boykaro, Abdurahmon Jami, Zahiriddin Muhammad Babur, Abu Rayhan Beruni, Boborahim Mashrab are situated on the territory of contemporary Afghanistan. They’ve made a useful contribution to the civilization, in addition to cultural and enlightened ties of the folks of the entire area. The Dutch historian Martin McCauley compares Afghanistan and Central Asia to the “Siamese twins” and concludes that they’re inseparable (McCauley, 2002, p.19).
– Commerce and financial side. Afghanistan is each a street and an unopened market main the area of Central Asia, which is closed in all respects, to the closest seaports. In all respects, it will guarantee the total integration of Central Asian states, together with Uzbekistan, into world commerce relations, eliminating some financial dependence on exterior spheres.
– Ethnical side. Afghanistan is residence to all Central Asian nations. An essential proven fact that wants particular consideration is that the Uzbeks in Afghanistan are the most important ethnic group on this planet outdoors of Uzbekistan. One other vital side is that the extra Tajiks dwell in Afghanistan because the extra Tajiks dwell in Tajikistan. That is extraordinarily essential and very important for Tajikistan. Afghan Turkmen are additionally one of many largest ethnic teams listed within the Afghan Structure. As well as, greater than a thousand Kazakhs and Kyrgyz from Central Asia at present dwell within the nation.
– Linguistical side. Nearly all of the Afghan inhabitants communicates within the Turkic and Persian languages spoken by the peoples of Central Asia. In line with the Structure of Afghanistan (The Structure of IRA, 2004), the Uzbek language has the standing of an official language solely in Afghanistan, besides Uzbekistan.
– Cultural traditions and religional side. The customs and traditions of the folks of Central Asia and Afghanistan are comparable and really shut to one another. For instance, Navruz, Ramadan and Eid al-Adha are celebrated equally in all folks of the area. Islam additionally binds our peoples collectively. One of many essential causes for that is that about 90% of the inhabitants of the area confesses Islam.
For that reason, as the present efforts to contain Afghanistan within the regional processes in Central Asia intensify, it’s expedient to keep in mind the relevance of this time period and its popularization in scientific circles.
Though totally different views and approaches to the geographical location of Afghanistan have some scientific foundation, at this time the issue of assessing this nation not as a particular a part of Central or South Asia, however as a bridge connecting these two areas, is a precedence. With out restoring Afghanistan’s historic function as a bridge connecting Central and South Asia, it’s unimaginable to develop inter-regional interdependence, historical and pleasant cooperation on new fronts. In the present day, such an method is changing into a prerequisite for safety and sustainable growth in Eurasia. In spite of everything, the peace in Afghanistan is the actual foundation for peace and growth in each Central and South Asia. On this context, there’s a rising must coordinate the efforts of Central and South Asian nations in addressing the sophisticated and sophisticated points going through Afghanistan. On this regard, this can be very essential to hold out the next essential duties:
First, the Central and South Asian areas have been certain by lengthy historic ties and customary pursuits. In the present day, based mostly on our widespread pursuits, we think about it as an pressing want and a precedence to determine a dialogue format “Central Asia + South Asia” on the stage of overseas ministers, aimed as increasing alternatives for mutual political dialogue and multifaceted cooperation.
Second, it’s essential to speed up the development and implementation of the Trans-Afghan Transport Hall, which is among the most essential elements in increasing rapprochement and cooperation in Central and South Asia. With the goal of attaining this, we’ll quickly want to debate the signing of multilateral agreements between all nations of our area and the financing of transport tasks. Particularly, the Mazar-e-Sharif-Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway tasks won’t solely join Central Asia with South Asia, however will even make a sensible contribution to Afghanistan’s financial and social restoration. For this objective, we think about to prepare the Trans-Afghan Regional Discussion board in Tashkent.
Third, Afghanistan has the potential to grow to be a serious vitality chain in connecting Central and South Asia with all sides. This, after all, requires the mutual coordination of Central Asian vitality tasks and their continued provide to South Asian markets by way of Afghanistan. On this regard, there’s a must collectively implement strategic tasks such because the TAPI trans-Afghan gasoline pipeline, the CASA-1000 energy transmission undertaking and the Surkhan-Puli Khumri, which may grow to be a part of it. From this cause, we suggest to collectively develop the vitality program REP13 (Regional Power Program of Central and Souht Asia). By following this program, Afghanistan would act as a bridge in Central and South Asian vitality cooperation.
Fourth, we suggest to carry an annual worldwide convention on the subject of “Afghanistan within the connecting Central and South Asia: historic context and potential alternatives”. In all respects, this correspond to the pursuits and aspirations of the residents of Afganistan, in addition to the folks of Central and South Asia.
- “Coronary heart of Asia” ─ countering safety threats, selling connectivity (2015) DAWN paper. Retrieved from https://www.daybreak.com/information/1225229
- Alimov, R. (2005) Central Asia: widespread pursuits. Tashkent: Orient.
- Buranov, S. (2020) Geopolitical points of Uzbekistan’s participation within the processes of stabilization of the state of affairs in Afghanistan. Dissertation of the Physician of Philosophy (PhD) in Political Science, Tashkent.
- Dollot, René. (1937) L’Afghanistan: histoire, description, moeurs et coutumes, folklore, fouilles, Payot, Paris.
- Fenenko, A. (2013) Issues of “AfPak” in world politics. Journal of Moscow College, Worldwide relations and world politics, № 2.
- Humboldt, A. (1843) Asie centrale. Recherches sur les chaines de montagnes et la climatologie examine. Paris.
- Mc Maculey, M. (2002) Afghanistan and Central Asia. A Fashionable Historical past. Pearson Schooling Restricted