by Bill O’Grady | PDF
Afghanistan is a landlocked nation that sits at the crossroads of central Asia. As our history noted last week, it was part of the “Great Game” in the 18th and 19th centuries when imperial powers Russia and Britain vied for control of the region. It continued to hold that role as the Soviets and now the U.S. have left the country after trying, but eventually failing, to install and support friendly governments. The resurgence of the Taliban marks the return of the historical pattern where outside powers find it impossible to maintain control of the country. At the same time, Afghanistan’s history shows that local control is contentious as well. Although the Taliban is in control for now, there is no guarantee it can govern the country over time.
For regional powers, the potential for instability in this critical area of Asia raises concerns. However, each nation has its own set of worries relative to its individual geopolitical constraints. Over the next three weeks, we will examine the nations around Afghanistan to analyze how they will deal with the new Afghan government. This week, we will cover Pakistan, India, and Iran. In Part III, Patrick Fearon-Hernandez will cover the impact on Russia and the central Asian nations. Thomas Wash will close the report in Part IV with the effects on China and beyond. Part IV will conclude with market ramifications.