Unnerved by Taliban Gains, Central Asia Boosts Ties With Russia and China

Uzbek armored personnel carriers participate in joint military drills between Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan at Harb-Maidon firing range, about 20 kilometers north of Tajikistan’s border with Afghanistan, Aug. 10, 2021 (AP photo by Didor Sadulloev).
Uzbek armored personnel carriers participate in joint military drills between Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan at Harb-Maidon firing range, about 20 kilometers north of Tajikistan’s border with Afghanistan, Aug. 10, 2021 (AP photo by Didor Sadulloev).
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The ongoing withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan is transforming diplomatic and security dynamics in Central Asia, creating opportunities for Russia and China to enhance their engagement with increasingly anxious governments in the region. The resurgence of the Taliban that began in the spring—and their takeover of large swaths of Afghanistan’s territory, including at least eight regional capitals so far—is unnerving senior officials in Central Asia.  Russia, meanwhile, is eager to take advantage of the U.S. withdrawal by shoring up its influence in Central Asia, enhancing its security footprint and preventing Washington from resuming military operations in any Central Asian […]

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