The Taliban’s dramatic toppling of the Afghan government prompted much soul-searching in the West. But for those closer to Kabul, anxieties about how the Taliban’s takeover will shape the region’s future are even more acute. Where some see risk, however, others see considerable opportunity.
Russia’s position, for one, remains ambiguous: while Moscow seems unlikely to formally recognise the new government, it has cultivated a cordial relationship with the Taliban. For their part, Afghanistan’s Central Asian neighbors seek to balance possible economic and political collaboration and looming security threats.
So, as the dust settles in Afghanistan, what’s driving policymakers in Russia and Central Asia? In this new episode of War & Peace, Olga Oilker and Hugh Pope are joined by Ivan Safranchuk, Senior Fellow at Moscow’s Institute of International Studies, to discuss the role they will play in shaping Afghanistan’s future and to ask whether the country can avoid becoming the arena for yet more great-power competition.