Roughly 80 percent of the country is covered by the Kara Kum Desert, which is among the driest in the world. Tajikistan. have to go beyond state-to-state relations and try to involve . While common throughout the region, it is mainly found in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. How is the Tengiz basin important to the global economy? The Paris Pact Initiative (PPI) represents the international community's determination to combat the trafficking in opiates originating in Afghanistan in a balanced and comprehensive manner. Updated from map courtesy of NASA – public domain. This is an annual report produced in conjunction with the Regional Security Office at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. It has been reported that China has already offered millions of dollars in incentive money to Afghan government officials to allow its country to mine copper. The development efforts have caused the water level to rise and therefore have reinvigorated the once-struggling fishing industry. The efforts have been undertaken by Kazakhstanâs government, which controls the Little Aral Sea. The right to vote was restored to women in the 2004 election. The EU Council Conclusions on Central Asia . The idea of Central Asia as a region was introduced by famous Prussian geographer, Alexander von Humboldt, in 1843. Since antiquity, Afghanistan has been part of what is now referred to as Central Asia – politically, economically, and culturally. High mountains to the east provide a border between Central Asia and China. FILE - An Afghan security officer stands guard at the site of a bomb blast in Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec. 15, 2020. More than a third of Afghanistan falls in the Aral Sea basin, which it shares with Central Asian nations. Before the polities that would make the Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan were a part of the Soviet Union, Afghanistan was a natural part of Central Asia. The missiles were instrumental in taking out Soviet aircraft and MiG fighters, which caused a critical shift in the balance of power in the war. The region around Bukhara, Uzbekistanâs fifth-largest city, has been occupied for at least the last five thousand years. Image credit: Siemens Energy. It is bounded on the north by Russia and on the south by Iran, Afghanistan, and China. The dry, treeless expanse of this region is home to Afghanistanâs vast mineral wealth. Updated from map courtesy of University of Texas Libraries. The central highlands—actually a part of the Himalayan chain—include the main Hindu Kush range. Voting has not been a smooth process because democratic rule is new to Afghanistan. In 1979, the Soviet Union took advantage of ongoing ethnic warfare in Afghanistan to inject itself into the country. Most of Afghanistan is still ruled by warlords and clan leaders. A large portion of southern Kazakhstan is desert, including the northern regions of the Kyzyl Kum Desert. Osama bin Laden was killed by US Navy Seals in 2011. AFGHANISTAN AND CENTRAL ASIA (Map adapted from artwork by Peter Hermes Furian/Shutterstock) 6 SPECIAL REPORT 453 USIP.ORG trafficking, and terrorism remain factors in Central Asian policy thinking and will certainly domi-nate once more if the current opportunity for peace, in which they are all invested, fails. Map is showing Afghanistan with surrounding countries, international borders, the national capital Kabul, provincial capitals, major cities, main roads, railroads and major airports. The city, which sits on the confluence of a local river and its tributaries, started as a caravanserai, or oasis for trade, along the Silk Road. These poets, often accompanied by two- or three-stringed instruments, will recite the Manas, an epic poem of Kyrgyzstan that details the life of the Kyrgyzstan hero Manas. Central Asia and Afghanistan have unfortunately not been spared. Under the sand and prairie grasses lay the some of the most extensive untapped reserves of gas and oil on the planet. The people of Turkey did not originate from the Middle East; they originated from northern Asia. Agriculture employs a full one-fourth of the population and accounts for one-fourth of the gross domestic product (GDP). In mid-June, Dushanbe pledged to increase power exports to Afghanistan. Various factions such as the Northern Alliance did not share the Talibanâs strict Islamic views and continued to oppose their position in power. Water from the Amu Darya River has been diverted by the seven-hundred-mile-long Kara Kum Canal through Turkmenistan to help grow cotton and other agricultural products. It is bounded to the east and south by Pakistan (including those areas of Kashmir administered by Pakistan but claimed by India), to the west by Iran, and to the north by the Central Asian states of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. A serene city of mosques and gardens during the storied reign of the emperor Bābur (1526–30), founder of the Mughal dynasty, and for centuries an important entrepôt on the Silk Road, Kabul lay in ruins following the long and violent Afghan War. This year it plans to increase this figure to … At least 15 people have been killed and 20 others wounded, interior ministry says, adding that children may be among the victims. Most of Afghanistan lies between 2,000 and 10,000 feet (600 and 3,000 metres) in elevation. Describe how the Aral Sea has been affected by the practices of water use in the region and the environmental consequences that have resulted from water use policies. Most of the groups of Central Asia were nomadic peoples who rode horses and herded livestock on the regionâs vast steppes. The imperial contest over Central and South Asia by the Russian and British empires in the 19th century traumatically severed Afghanistan from Central Asia, with lasting and problematic consequences. The steppe region has a semiarid type B climate. Including Afghanistan into elements of the EU strategy for Central Asia could bring benefits for the EU, Afghanistan and Central Asia alike. civilian actors. Summarize how Central Asia has been transitioning from a Soviet-dominated region to independent states and what has been occurring in the various states to adapt to the new economic environment. Because Turkmenistan is landlocked, its government has been forced to partner with Russia to use of Russiaâs pipelines to export the natural gas. US aid has also contributed to infrastructure development designed to help US military operations in Afghanistan and in the region as a whole. But the prolonged conflict throughout the 1800s between England and Tsarist Russia over control of the region, called The Great Game, resulted in the 1895 division of the territory of the Pamir mountain area, overseen by the Pamir Boundary Commission. The flag of Kyrgyzstan has a symbol of the sun and forty rays of light indicating the legendary forty tribes of Manas that represent the nation. It is unclear how much of the countryâs wealth filters down to most of the population. 1 synonym for Afghanistan: Islamic State of Afghanistan. Afghanistanâs infrastructure has been destroyed through warfare, and its government is dependent on foreign aid; without it, this country cannot recover to integrate itself with the global economy. East Asia is politically divided into eight countries and regions: China, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau. Lithium is highly sought after and is used in the manufacturing of batteries, computers, and electronic devices. It is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world and has been one of the more important cities in Central Asia. Kandahar, the second-largest city in Afghanistan, is located in the south, an area where support for the Taliban is stronger than it is in Kabul in the north. The United States turned control over to NATO in 2006. What is attracting multinational corporations to Central Asia? At about 1,500 miles long, the Amu Darya is the regionâs longest river. Fulvio Spada – Bibi Khanum Mosque, Samarkand – CC BY-SA 2.0. A form of improvisational oral poetry, which allegedly dates back to more than one thousand years ago, is an aspect of traditional culture that has been preserved. The Taliban brought a sense of militant order to Kabul and the regions under their control. Bukhara was another important city on the Silk Road and is known for its Asian carpet and textile industry. In response to the events of September 11, 2001, the U.S. and its allies launched an invasion of Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban regime and destroy the al-Qaeda terrorist network it supported. Professor and Head, Department of History, Kābul University, Afghanistan. Russian is often used as a lingua franca. The economy of Kazakhstan has been larger than the economies of all the other Central Asian states combined. The central and western regions have mainly arid desert climates and rely heavily on the fresh water flowing in from the mountains. On December 9, 2020, in the format of a video conference, a cooperation meeting “Central Asia + Islamic Republic of Afghanistan + People’s Republic of China” was held, during which Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan V. Khadzhiev took part from the Turkmen side. After the collapse of Soviet Union, emerging central asian countries were struggling with their respective economic crisis inherited from former Soviet. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. In this photo, soldiers representing the 561st Military Police Company, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, are speaking with local Afghans about insurgent activity near Bagram, Afghanistan. This epic tale is a renowned part of the culture and festivals of Kyrgyzstan. Turkmenistan is slightly larger in physical area than the US state of California. The Central Asian countries, all former republics of the Soviet Union, have been closely involved with developments in Afghanistan since the Soviets invaded in 1979. Afghanistan is considered a part of the region even though it was never a formal part of the Soviet Union. These satellite images compare the Aral Sea between 1989 and 2008. The Central Asian countries, all former republics of the Soviet Union, have been closely involved with developments in Afghanistan since the Soviets invaded in 1979. Cancer and respiratory illness rates continue to be higher than normal. They swept through Central Asia and dominated the region on their way to the Middle East. So, too, fared much of the country, its economy in shambles and its people scattered and despondent. The problem with that concept was that there was much diversity in how Islam was practiced by the numerous local groups. The loss of the state social safety net pushed the economy further to the informal sector, where trading and small transactions for personal survival are common. If the male catches the female, he is rewarded with a kiss. Political instability and corruption has hampered the growth of a market economy, and political power remains in the hands of the economic elite. In 1960, the Aral Sea covered about 26,254 square miles, an area larger than the size of the US state of West Virginia. Understand that Central Asia is a landlocked region that receives little rainfall and has to rely on water from major rivers flowing from the mountains in the east. The government is seeking foreign aid and investments to help develop these resources. Ashgabat is primarily a government and administrative center, although it has thriving cotton, textile, and metalworking industries. Technically speaking, that is the Indian subcontinent. Violators were either beaten or shot. The outstanding geographic feature of Afghanistan is its mountain range, the Hindu Kush. The security situation in Afghanistan has been deteriorating over the last two years. Oil pipelines are expanding to transport the oil to port locations and other countries, including China. Even diamonds are found here. Other important ranges include the Sīāh Kūh, south of the Harīrūd, and the Ḥeṣār Mountains, which stretch northward. The remaining western portion of the Uzbekistan side of the Aral Sea will continue to shrink if measures are not taken to address the loss of water from the Amu Darya River. The forty rays of sun on the countryâs flag symbolize of the legendary forty tribes of Manas that represent the nation. It is also colloquially referred to as "the stans" as the countries generally considered to be within the region all have names ending with the Persian suffix "-stan", meaning "land of". At the same time … The traditional people of Kazakhstan, who share a Mongol and Turkic heritage, moved into the Central Asia region sometime after 1200 CE. Kyrgyzstanâs transition from a Soviet republic to independence was not smooth. More than 80 percent of the heroin consumed in Europe is grown in Afghanistan. It also has a short border with Xinjiang, China, at the end of the long, narrow Vākhān (Wakhan Corridor), in the extreme northeast. US Department of Defense – public domain. The eastern region was completely dry by 2009, whereas the northern portion was responding favorably to Kazakhstanâs conservation efforts. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. According to Azernews, “in 2017 Tajikistan supplied about … This region covers a total area of 4,571,092 square miles and has a population size of mor… Tajikistan. There is great potential for hydroelectric power generation, and Tajikistan is developing the worldâs highest dam. In this context all the Central Asian states are continuing to express their strong interest in stability and prosperity of this country. North vs South wise, Afghanistan is smack down Central, so not in South Asia. Osama bin Laden remained in Afghanistan and established training camps for his version of an anti-Western resistance group called al-Qaeda. Siemens Energy has signed a multi-phase agreement with Afghanistan to establish the country as an energy hub in central Asia. Over the past decade, unemployment rates have exceeded 50 percent, and more than half the population lives below the poverty line. Women were allowed to return to the workplace, and the rebuilding of the country became a priority. The civil war between the Taliban and those that opposed them resulted in the deaths of more than fifty thousand people by 1996 when the Taliban emerged to take power in Kabul. The entire operation was conducted without the awareness of the Pakistani government. Many of the factions in Afghanistan opposed the Taliban; one such group being the Northern Alliance, which was an association of groups located in the northern portion of the country. In some cases, battles between government and militant groups occurred close to Afghanistan’s border with the Central Asian states. After the collapse of Soviet Union, emerging central asian countries were struggling with their respective economic crisis inherited from former Soviet. Figure 8.69 Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Central Asiaâs shrinking Aral Sea is shared by Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Shift from Soviet Union to independent states, Rise in authoritarian governments and corruption, Increase of cultural influence of Islamic institutions, Global economic focus on extractive activities, Increase in military activity over control of resources, Decline in agriculture as an economic base, Continued concern for environmental problems. Afghanistan, the kryptonite in India’s Central Asia Policy, has started to stroll back onto the path of development after decades of economic stagnancy, plagued by the perennial impediments of insecurity, insurgency, and corruption. Enormous deposits of iron, copper, gold, cobalt, and rare industrial minerals such as lithium are reported to be present in Afghanistan. Ashgabat is also a popular stop along the Trans-Caspian Railway. The administrative center and largest city of Turkmenistan is its capital, Ashgabat, which has a population of about one million. Kazakhstan also has a forward capital. Oil and natural gas reserves are also available for exploitation. Canals, dikes, and irrigation processes have been updated to reduce the loss of water and increase the amount that flows into the northern section. Kazakhstan gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, thereby creating the worldâs largest landlocked nation. Figure 8.60 Cultural Traditions in Kazakhstan. The region consists of the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The Soviets pushed in from the north and occupied much of Afghanistan until they completely withdrew in 1989. Countries such as Russia, China, and the United States are all looking to gain an advantage with their ties to Tajikistan to exploit the regionâs natural resources. Central Asia is a region in the Asian continent that extends from the mountains of western China to the shores of the Caspian Sea. This is an annual report produced in conjunction with the Regional Security Office at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Snowfall from the mountains provides fresh water for agriculture as well as hydroelectric energy. Many killed in blast at central Afghanistan religious gathering. Corporate colonialism is extremely active and has contributed to a high level of corruption in the government and the business sector. Afghanistan, the kryptonite in India’s Central Asia Policy, has started to stroll back onto the path of development after decades of economic stagnancy, plagued by the perennial impediments of insecurity, insurgency, and corruption. In this context all the Central Asian states are continuing to express their strong interest in stability and prosperity of this country. This photo indicates that women were also allowed to vote in Afghanistan in the 2005 elections for provincial councils and parliamentary positions. The entire eastern portion of the sea has become a sand desert, complete with the deteriorating hulls of abandoned fishing vessels. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. His definition included Afghanistan and Western China because of the geographical connections and cultural interrelations. The EU Council Conclusions on Central Asia . After regrouping, the Taliban rallied its supporters on the Pakistani side of the border and returned to the fighting front in Afghanistan against North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and US forces. The country became a "buffer zone" between Russia and Britain when the two powers fought over control of Central Asia and eventually fell under Britain's sphere of influence. Agriculture has been the main focus of economic activity for the rural communities. At the same time, Pakistan would enjoy trade with Tajikistan under terms similar to Afghanistan’s transit arrangement. Although bin Laden escaped, the terror of the Taliban was temporarily reduced. Today, with Afghanistan, they are independent countries that make up the region called Central Asia. The southwestern plateau, south of the central highlands, is a region of high plateaus, sandy deserts, and semideserts. Democratic elections were held for the office of president in Afghanistan beginning in October of 2004. Kabul is the capital and largest city. The average elevation is about 2,000 feet (600 metres). Once the water dried up in the sea, the winds carried the buildup of chemicals and salt from the dry seabed over the land, causing serious health-related problems in the nearby human population. The Turkish language and heritage have had the most significant impact on the people of Central Asia. Understand the principle that globalization of the economy forces political units to compete over natural resources. 4.2 United States: Early Development and Globalization, 4.3 United States: Population and Religion, 4.5 Regions of the United States and Canada, Chapter 8: North Africa and Southwest Asia, 8.3 North Africa and the African Transition Zone, 11.3 The Insular Region (Islands of Southeast Asia). Afghanistan is technically not South-Central Asia either. In the northern portion of the Aral Sea, called the Little Aral Sea, there has been some success in abating the deterioration of this once-thriving environmental habitat. It is the ninth-largest state on the planet in terms of square miles and is larger in physical area than of all of Western Europe. He was reelected as president in 2009 under the cloud of claims of election fraud. The expansion of the Russian Empire under the tsars integrated Kazakhstan and its neighbors, which eased their transition when the tsarist system of Russian government gave way to the Soviet Union. Environmental problems were further exacerbated by the extensive use of pesticides and fertilizers in agricultural processes. The Pamirs is a mountain range located where the Tian Shan, Karakorum, and Hindu Kush mountain ranges meet in Tajikistan, an area referred to as the Pamir Knot, or the roof of the world. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Most of the country is ruled by warlords and clan leaders who have few resources other than tradition and custom. Occupying 652,000 square kilometers (252,000 sq mi), it is a mountainous country with plains in the north and southwest. The high central mountain range of the Hindu Kush dominates the country and leaves a zone of well-watered fertile plains to the north and a dry desert region to the south. Rural areas are usually led by clan leaders who are not part of any official arm of a national government. Central Asia has numerous important links to Afghanistan that will open the region to significant effects after the upcoming U.S. and NATO drawdown. Provincial … The western portions are lowlands bordering the Caspian Sea. I wrote recently on a closely related question. Country Security Report Report Afghanistan 2020 Crime & Safety Report 501 all time 2/25/2020 | Country Security Report . Its overall area is roughly twice that of Norway. Samarkand, called the crossroads of culture, is located on the ancient Silk Road to China. Islam emerged in this country after Uzbekistan won its independence in 1991 after the fall of the Soviet Union. During the recent years the engagement of Central Asian states in Afghanistan has grown considerably. Some geographers think of the Eurasian Steppes as one single, homogenous geographical zone. In short, there are valid reasons for considering Afghanistan to be part of Central Asia. T o boost Central Asia-Afghanistan cooperation, Europe will . Of course, it remains to be seen to what extent is the EU willing and able to support ‘tri-lateral’ projects, as well as Afghanistan… Multinational corporations have vigorously stepped up their activity in the region. Most Central Asian Muslims are Sunnis. The remaining western portion of the sea has a rising salt content that is contributing to the decline of the fish population. The groups regularly fight among themselves, but they have also been known to form alliances. 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