This paper explores the extent to which the energy-rich Central Asian countries can contribute towards enhancing energy security in Afghanistan. Taking up this question, the author focuses on three aspects of Afghanistan’s energy security priorities where Central Asian countries can play a role: (a) a source for stable electricity supply, (b) Afghanistan’s transformation into an energy self-sufficient country, and (c) Afghanistan’s development as a transit hub between Central and South Asia.
The findings reveal significant political, security and technical challenges in all three areas. First, the state of bilateral relations between Afghanistan and some Central Asian states, in addition to capacity issues within their borders, raise questions about reliability of these countries as suppliers in the long run.
Furthermore, Afghanistan’s efforts to develop its hydro power potential to achieve self-sufficiency could also draw it into conflicts with the Central Asian countries as it would undermine the supply of water to Afghanistan’s neighbours from these trans-boundary rivers. To minimise the risk of such conflicts, it is important that Kabul promotes dialogues with its neighbouring countries over water-sharing. Finally, the potential of Afghanistan as a transit hub remains contingent on the prevailing geopolitical and security situation on the ground.
The countries involved in trans-national energy projects should explore possibilities of co-opting insurgents into the system incentivising them to keep these projects running. The publication is part of a joint collaboration of the FES Regional Peace and Security Programme, FES Kazakhstan and the FES Afghanistan office.
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