Tajikistan has no intention of getting into a direct confrontation with the Taliban. Rather, by taking a few more risks than its neighbors, the Tajik leadership is counting on boosting its popularity, both at home and abroad.
It goes without saying that the crisis in Afghanistan will create new risks for the region, but Central Asia has long lived with chaos on its borders, and already has twenty years of experience in dealing with the Taliban.
It was not so long ago that the United States had military bases in the region. But now much depends on whether the advantages would outweigh the inevitable losses that Central Asian countries would sustain as a result of Moscow and Beijing’s displeasure.
The recent escalation did not resemble a local dispute that got out of hand. Dark clouds have been gathering over the region for a long time, and the decision to embark on military action was taken at the highest level.
Hitherto content to work with Central Asia’s incumbent leaders, China is now supporting pro-China politicians: an unprecedented intervention in the region’s affairs that is shaking the foundation of Moscow’s cooperation with Beijing there.
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