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Western military presence wanes in Afghanistan and a transformed security environment challenges borders and stability in Central Asia. This book examines how the tensions relating to the reorganization of external military presence interact with regional states’ ambitions and challenge the borders already contested by numerous dividing lines. It studies a complex political landscape across which radical Islam connected with international terrorism is feared to spread as the international mission initiated in the wake of the 9/11 attacks winds down.
As Western military presence wanes in Afghanistan a transformed security environment challenges borders and stability in Central Asia. In this region former Soviet republics seek to consolidate their position by extending their control over politically problematic borderlands, setting up borders in areas where livelihood connections and transborder communities belie such bounding, and by seeking to maximize the independence of their foreign policies in relation to the integration processes led by Russia. This collection examines how the geopolitical tensions relating to the reorganization of external military presence and the opportunities to gain resources from the region-wide economic cooperation initiated with “new Silk Roads” ideas interact with regional states’ policies and actions. It explains how state borders are challenged by the practices of both non-state agencies and groups of people as well as the policies of extra-regional powers to pursue spaces for defense, resources and influence. Applying pragmatist insights, the contributions discuss the complexity of borders in the region and argue that the predominant role of the state border in all discourse and policies on borders eclipses other border-making practices, and that this limitation of perspectives deepens the security problems in the region’s troubled border spaces.
Target groups: practitioners interested in Afghanistan and Central Asia, students and researchers in international relations, geopolitics, strategic studies, history, regional studies and border studies
Keywords: Central Asia, borders, international security