Regions / Europe & Central Asia
Since September 11 and the ensuing war on terrorism, Central Asia's geopolitics have been further complicated by the new military presence of the United States, whose troops are now stationed in China's and Russia's backyard.
"Free and fair" elections under a military government imply continuity of military rule, not a transfer of power to an elected parliament.
Russia's former republics have fixed borders, but Russia's conception of its own southern frontier appears to remain undefined. After a casual meeting with the presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan in Aktau, Kazakhstan on July 6
There is reason to believe nuclear capability may make the chances of war worse in South Asia.
Planners have to consider how to make the Loya Jirga fair and accessible to the country's largely illiterate population, and keep it from becoming a platform for tribal, political, and ethnic violence.
Why, all of a sudden, is India acting so belligerently and risking disaster?
The United States' actions speak louder than words for Indian and Pakistani leaders.
The United States has treated the region primarily as a convenient staging base for its Afghan campaign, and all regimes have felt confident enough to use the threat of Islamic fundamentalism and al Qaeda to continue in their old ways.
As small Central Asian countries have struck military alliances with the United States, their leaders have asserted their own power more aggressively.
In a reversal of the oppressive Taliban era, educated Afghan women are using the elections to the upcoming Loya Jirga, or grand tribal council, to press for their civil rights.