Afghanistan’s social and political development is at a critical juncture—as NATO troops withdraw this year and elections are to occur next month. In Afghanistan Reconnected: Linking Energy Supplies to Consumers in Asia, EWI Fellow Danila Bochkarev proposes that a trans-Afghan “energy bridge” could ease the transition by bringing new investment and trading opportunities to Afghanistan.
Investing in connecting the rapidly industrialized-South Asia with the resource-rich Central Asia will raise Afghanistan’s living standards across the board, Bochkarev argues. Local and regional businesses will grow and new revenues will be generated. The energy-bridge approach will reconnect Afghanistan with its neighbors and help Kabul promote joint undertakings, including interconnections with Central Asia’s electricity grids and power generation projects.
“Examples demonstrate that the benefits of the cross-border cooperation may outweigh political disagreements and intra-state disputes, especially if there is sufficient political will and a readily available framework for cooperation,” Bochkarev explained. “In recent years, energy cooperation in various conflict environments helped secure vibrant trade relations and significantly reduced existing tensions. This was the case in the Barents Sea region, the South Caucasus and in relations between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan.”
Afghanistan Reconnected illustrates how this energy infrastructure would strengthen economic, political and social ties between Central Asia and South Asia and contribute to a more stable Afghanistan for years to come.
Click here for the full report: Afghanistan Reconnected
Read an opinion piece on the report, on The Hill's Congress Blog.