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Turkmen-Afghan Ties Based Mainly Around Trade

By News Briefing Central Asia

A forthcoming meeting between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan reflects a relationship built more on economic collaboration than political engagement, analysts say.

A joint government commission for trade, economic and technical cooperation will meet in Kabul on August 30-31.

With a long border with Afghanistan, Turkmenistan has previously proposed to host a United Nations-led meeting on strengthening institutions and assisting recovery in its southern neighbour.

Annadurdy Khajiev, a Turkmen analyst based in Bulgaria, says the authorities in Turkmenistan are concerned about Islamic radicalism and conflict in Afghanistan but have few ways of influencing those factors.

“At the moment, Turkmenistan lacks the political, economic and military power to influence the situation in any case,” he said. “Ashgabat’s role thus comes down to a purely trading relationship – supplying electricity, petroleum products and fertilisers, offering transit for freight heading for Afghanistan, and exporting its goods.”

This article was produced as part of IWPR’s News Briefing Central Asia output, funded by the National Endowment for Democracy.