• KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00215 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09392 -0.63%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00215 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09392 -0.63%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00215 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09392 -0.63%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00215 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09392 -0.63%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00215 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09392 -0.63%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00215 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09392 -0.63%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00215 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09392 -0.63%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00215 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09392 -0.63%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Viewing results 1 - 6 of 905

Germany Negotiating Afghan Deportation Deal with Uzbekistan

The government of the Republic of Uzbekistan may agree with the leadership of Germany on sending its labor migrants to Europe in return for the deportation of Afghan refugees. This was reported by the Bloomberg agency. According to sources, Germany is negotiating with Uzbekistan on the conclusion of a migration pact, which may include the deportation of Afghan asylum seekers, so that Berlin does not have to make direct deals with the Taliban. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has promised a tougher stance on migration, including the deportation of asylum seekers from Afghanistan and Syria. The decision follows a recent series of violent attacks and growing sympathy for the populist far-right in Germany. Interior Minister Nancy Feather, a senior member of Scholz's center-left Social Democrats party, sent officials to the Uzbek capital, Tashkent in late May to negotiate a pact on migration and deportation. Any prospective deal is yet to be finalized. Under the proposed plan, the Uzbek government would accept a limited number of rejected Afghan asylum seekers deported from Germany, and then send them to neighboring Afghanistan using private flights to Kabul. The Uzbek government is considering the idea, but wants any migration pact to also include bilateral rules allowing for the legal migration of skilled workers from Uzbekistan to Germany. According to sources, the German government's special representative for migration agreements, Joachim Stamp, will soon travel to Uzbekistan for further negotiations on such an agreement. An interior ministry spokeswoman declined to comment on the plan, which was also reported by Der Spiegel magazine and the DPA news agency. Following a fatal knife attack by an Afghan refugee on a German policeman, Chancellor Scholz, delivering a speech on law and order in parliament on June 6, said his government would allow criminals to be deported to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan and war-torn Syria. "Serious criminals and terrorist threats have no place here," Scholz said, adding that the interior ministry was working on practical implementation and was already in talks with countries bordering Afghanistan. Germany previously completely halted deportations to Afghanistan shortly before the Taliban returned to power in the summer of 2021.

Is Afghanistan Ready for Dialogue with Central Asia on Water Issues?

Against the backdrop of the silence of Central Asian countries, as well as their lack of a coordinated position on the construction of the Qosh Tepa Canal in northern Afghanistan, the Taliban are moving forward with the project with growing confidence and without regard to their neighbors. Last October, at the ceremony to mark the launch of the second phase of the canal’s construction, Afghan Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Salam Hanafi called Qosh Tepa, “one of the most significant development projects in Afghanistan,” while its realization should remove all doubts about the capabilities of the new Afghan authorities, he added. There is no point in discussing the economic rationale for the canal; like other practical measures taken by the Taliban in the water and energy sphere, for Afghanistan, where 90% of the population is employed in agriculture, the provision of irrigation water is undoubtedly an important task. According to the UN, over the past four decades, desertification has affected more than 75% of the total land area in the northern, western, and southern regions of the country, reducing the vegetation of pasture land, accelerating land degradation, and impacting crop production. However, this socio-environmental problem affects the interests of all the peoples of Central Asia, which geographically includes the entire north of Afghanistan. It arose as an objective need for development, and solving it requires the combined efforts of all countries in the region, which is already on the verge of a serious water crisis that threatens not only economic development, but also the lives of millions of people. In general, the Taliban have emphasized their openness in matters of trans-boundary water management, but, so far, these are only statements. They are more motivated by political issues around their international recognition. That is why it is important for them to participate in global events, such as UN climate change conferences, but they have yet to take part in any climate talks. Hopefully, Afghan representatives will be invited to the COP29 Global Impact Conference in Baku this November, especially since one of the key topics of this forum will be a “just energy transition.” It would be interesting to hear what the Taliban have to offer. Though the authorities in Kabul have had some success in water regulation with Iran, the same cannot be said about Central Asia. This clearly owes to the fact that the five Central Asian republics have not taken a unified position on trans-boundary waters with Afghanistan. And their southern neighbor has taken advantage of this – to date, Kabul has not held any full-fledged official consultations with any Central Asian country on the Qosh Tepa Canal. However, just as bilateral formats will not yield results (unlike in Iran's case), the Taliban leadership will not be able to resolve water issues easily with the Central Asian countries. Afghanistan is not a party to the Central Asian Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Joint Management on the Utilization and Protection of Water Resources from Interstate Sources. It was...

Central Asia Asks: Are Afghanistan’s Taliban Government Terrorists?

On June 3, Kazakhstani President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev met with speakers of CSTO countries’ parliaments, who were in Almaty for a meeting of the Council of the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly. At this event, Tokayev separately touched upon the situation in Afghanistan. In his view, one of the strategic tasks at this point is actively linking Afghanistan with the region. Tokayev recalled that “Kazakhstan had removed the Taliban regime from its list of terrorist organizations, basing this decision on the importance of developing trade and economic cooperation with today’s Afghanistan and the understanding that this regime is a long-term factor.” The last bit, namely that “Kazakhstan had removed the Taliban regime from its list of terrorist organizations,” was presented by many foreign media, probably due to its simplicity, as something that had just happened. For example, the Russian-language service of Deutsche Welle reported that “the Kazakh authorities have decided to exclude the Taliban movement from the list of terrorist organizations.” Similar stories were carried by various other news media, like RFE/RL’s Kazakh service, 24.kg and Amu TV, among others. However, some publications objectively covered Tokayev’s statement. For example, The Diplomat reported that “Tokayev explained his government’s decision in more detail,” while Sputnik India wrote that "Tokayev explained Almaty's decision in December to drop the group from the list.” Asia-Plus ran a similar story. Given all the noise, it would be useful to clarify the situation for readers. The decision to exclude the Taliban from the list of banned foreign organizations was made by Kazakhstan’s Supreme Court on December 20, 2023, almost six months ago. The Taliban had been put on the list in March 2005. At that time, they were actively fighting the NATO-led international coalition, which had launched the so-called Operation Enduring Freedom in October 2001 in response to the 9/11 terrorist attack. The Kazakhstani Foreign Ministry cited UN decisions to back up its move to take the Taliban off the terrorist list. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Aibek Smadiyarov said that “according to UN Security Council resolutions, which are binding, the Taliban movement is not included in the lists of terrorist organizations recognized as such by the UN Security Council.” As expected, at the time the reaction was mixed. Most of the negative commentary presented it as recognition of the Taliban regime, which, in fact, is not true – it was not a unilateral act of Kazakhstan giving international legal recognition to the Taliban. Meanwhile, another trend in the coverage of Tokayev’s recent remarks was to link Kazakhstan’s decision to remove the Taliban from its terrorist list with Russian plans to do the same. On May 27, the Russian Foreign Ministry and Justice Ministry reported to President Vladimir Putin that the Taliban movement could be excluded from the list of organizations banned in the country. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov remarked that this proposal “reflects a realization of reality,” adding that “[the Taliban] are the real government. We [and] our allies, especially in Central Asia, are not indifferent to Afghanistan.” In his own...

Uzbekistan Interested in Afghan Oil and Gas

TOLOnews reports that Russian and Uzbek companies have expressed their intention to develop oil and gas fields in Afghanistan, whilst the interest of other Central Asian countries in this field is also growing. "Recently, we had meetings with Uzbek companies," Homayoon Afghan, spokesperson for the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum said. "The Ministry has announced several oil and gas sites to attract investment, including the Herat oil and gas fields.” Plans for the exploration and extraction of oil, gas and other minerals became one of the main topics discussed during the visit of the delegation of Uzbekistan to Kabul. At that time, it was reported that Uzbekistan wanted to buy more than 1 million tons of coal from Afghanistan. Also, on May 21 of this year, Uzbekistan sent humanitarian aid to the people affected by floods in Afghanistan. This aid included 48 tons of flour, 22 tons of rice, 100,000 canned goods and 44 tons of pasta products, 96 water storage tanks of 1,000 liters, etc. The UN World Food Program has reported that more than 300 people have died and 1,000 homes have been destroyed in floods caused by heavy seasonal rains in Afghanistan.

Why Kazakhstan’s Deepening Ties With Afghanistan Are Significant

At the end of April a Kazakh delegation made an official visit to Kabul, where a meeting of the Kazakh-Afghan Business Forum and an exhibition of Kazakh products were held. This was the third bilateral event aimed at expanding trade and economic ties between Kazakhstan and Afghanistan. The visit to Kabul indicates Astana’s intention to enhance Kazakhstan’s relations with the new Afghan authorities, and not only through trade. This is evidenced by a number of details that differed from previous official contact. First, an unannounced trilateral government meeting took place between Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan in Kabul. The result was the announcement that a new logistics route to Afghanistan through Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan would be developed. There is nothing earthshaking about this – Turkmenistan is set to become a transportation hub for international corridors passing through Kazakhstan, primarily the North-South and the Middle corridors, as well as the Lapis Lazuli Corridor (Turkey-Azerbaijan-Turkmenistan-Afghanistan). What is significant is that the sides are striving to create favorable conditions for logistics, especially more competitive transport tariffs so trains can pass through faster. This is particularly important given congestion in Uzbekistan, where bottlenecks occur. The announcement in Kabul also means a direct route to economically attractive western Afghanistan and further south. What else made the Kabul visit notable was the meeting between Kazakh deputy prime minister Serik Zhumangarin, who oversees trade, and Abdul Kabir, the Taliban’s deputy prime minister for political affairs. Given the reputation of the Taliban, it is not in the interests of Astana to simply stage a conversation for the cameras. Unfortunately, details about the Zhumangarin-Kabir meeting are few. According to the available information, the deputy prime ministers discussed security issues in Afghanistan, apparently in the context of how to grow the Afghan economy. Following the meeting, Kabir stated that Afghanistan does not want to be a threat to the region, and intends to improve relations with its neighbors through the progressive development of trade and economic relations. The Zhumangarin-Kabir meeting is said to have taken place on the initiative of the Afghan side. Considering Kabir’s closeness to the emir of the Taliban, it is likely that the initiative came from him. Other notable outcomes of the visit of the Kazakh delegation to Kabul included: discussion of joint projects for geological exploration, mining and processing of solid minerals in Afghanistan, as well as in the IT sector; discussion of the possibilities for supplying Kazakh-made cars and subsequent localization of service centers in Afghanistan; a rise in the quota for Afghan students at Kazakh universities from 30 to 60, as well as a 10-day trip to children’s camps in Kazakhstan for 30 Afghan children in the summer of 2024; and discussion of the possibility of establishing direct flights between the two countries. Aidar Borangaziev is a Kazakhstani diplomat. He has worked in the diplomatic service in Iran and Afghanistan. He is a founder of the Open World Center for Analysis and Forecasting Foundation (Astana). He is an expert in regional security.    

Uzbekistan Signs More Export Contracts With Afghanistan

Uzbekistan has agreed to sign export contracts worth $44 million with Afghanistan, according to a report by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan. The contracts were signed during a three-day visit to Tashkent by a delegation of Afghan businessmen. The two nations are also planning to form an Uzbekistan-Afghanistan Business Council, which will have 18 Afghan companies among its members. Afghanistan's import market is worth $7 billion. The goods that are most in demand with Afghan importers are agricultural products, processed food, textiles, leather, electrical components and construction materials.

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