Afghanistan and regional instability: A risk assessment
Corporate nameEuropean Commission / Directorate General for External Relations
The report offers a stocktaking of Afghanistan’s regional challenges. It finds that domestic instability in Pakistan, strains in Pakistan–Afghanistan relations and insecurities associated with the US–Iran stand-off on Iran’s nuclear programme continue to pose the most significant regional risks to the stability of Afghanistan. There are, however, a number of additional challenges: the failure of the USA and its allies to enable a substantial dialogue on Afghanistan with Russia and China, in addition to India and Pakistan’s continued rivalry, create a suboptimal regional environment for Afghanistan’s stabilisation process. There are also serious regional challenges related to drugs trafficking and water sharing. Finally, the report discusses the situation in two of Afghanistan’s (lesser known) neighbours in detail. It finds that Uzbekistan is unstable: regime collapse in this country is one possible scenario – and this would entail grave consequences for Afghanistan, especially the northern regions. Turkmenistan, by contrast, whose long time dictator Saparmurat Niyazov died in December 2006, seems stable in the short to medium term. The report ends by providing a set of policy recommendations for Norwegian policymakers.