Monochrome: Situation in Afghanistan

Date: Sep 2018

A deadly shootout with the Taliban took place near the Afghan-Tajik border, which the gunmen appear to have crossed. The incident comes at a time of changes in Afghanistan. Tasked with defending major cities, Afghan troops are leaving remote areas, allowing the Taliban to dig in at the borders. They are no match for the Russian 201st Military Base, though.

The Eurasian Economic Union set up a unified medicine market. The newly-formed database and unified legal framework of 35 normative acts should help streamline medicine registration.

The selection of judges in Kazakhstan just got better. Justice hopefuls will now go through psychological testing, sit a law exam, write an essay, and also work on case studies to show their practical skills. A group of scholars will grade the essay according to 7 criteria.

Kazakhstan intends to expand its irrigated land to a total of over 2m ha, in a bid to double crop yields. According to one expert, some of the main causes impairing irrigated agriculture include low-grade water-saving technologies, wrong methods of organic farming, and insufficient use of organic fertilisers.

Uzbekistan will introduce a pharmaceutical market development programme that will run through 2022. Put on the agenda are some of the things the market does not yet have: a single road map, financial benefits, a public procurement mechanism, and skilled staff. The Programme will lay out a number of goals to help boost the market.

The World Bank is designing eight projects for Uzbekistan, worth a total of $1b. The funds will go to the Obod Qishloq programme (better life in rural areas), key industries, public-private partnership and preschool education. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim may soon visit Uzbekistan.

Will Uzbekistan rejoin the Collective Security Treaty Organisation? The latest reforms in the CSTO have introduced the observer status, which will allow a state to take part in joint military exercises. Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and Serbia are all looking to join the organisation, which incidentally was created in Tashkent in May 1992.

President Trump is poised to raise tariffs on half of all Chinese imports (a total of $200b, mostly equipment). Beijing is no stranger to challenges from across the Pacific and is ready to pay America back in its own coin. This starts to look like the gambit of some great intercontinental trade war, where each trade punch weighs in at the entire Central Asian GDP and where losses will be the only winners. We are pinning our hopes on the vestiges of common sense.

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