It may appear almost unseemly to focus on Afghanistan’s potential as a hub of regional connectivity considering that close to half of its population is currently facing food insecurity and reliant on foreign humanitarian assistance for survival. Meeting the immediate humanitarian needs of the Afghan people is clearly an urgent priority and international bodies and external powers, including the European Union, have an obligation to support them. Having endured four decades of armed conflict, and experienced two foreign military interventions, the country saw the re-emergence of the Taliban as its de facto rulers following the fall of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on 15 August 2021, after the withdrawal of US troops and the end of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission (RSM).
The aim of this Brief is to understand the implications of Afghanistan’s geostrategic position for wider regional connectivity against the backdrop of broader tectonic shifts taking place in the world order between international, rising and regional powers. Broader security and geo-economic implications arising from the vacuum left by the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan will also be considered. Despite being a landlocked country, Afghanistan lies at the crossroads of East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia/Eurasia and the Middle East. The Middle East and Eurasia, both part of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), remain strategic priorities for Europe.
Unlocking Afghanistan’s connectivity potential – Opportunities for the EU? | European Union Institute for Security Studies (europa.eu)