Afghanistan's Relations with South Asia

Diplomacy Amid Conflict

Authored by: Michael Kugelman

Routledge Handbook of the International Relations of South Asia

Print publication date:  October  2022
Online publication date:  October  2022

Print ISBN: 9781032159881
eBook ISBN: 9781003246626
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter assesses Afghanistan's relations with its South Asian neighbors, with emphasis on the last 20 years. It argues that the country's long-running war shaped Kabul's regional diplomacy over the last two decades. As a result, Afghanistan's engagement with South Asia was largely limited to India and Pakistan, with much less attention given to the rest of the region. Accordingly, the chapter explains how the story of Afghanistan's relations with South Asia over the last 20 years is one of limited engagement and missed opportunities. The chapter, acknowledging the difficulty of making predictions about a country with so many unknowns, also argues that three factors—regime type, level of stability, and regional dynamics—will help determine the future trajectory of Kabul's relations with South Asia.

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