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Weekly Digest of Central Asia

  • Written by TCA

BISHKEK (TCA) — The Publisher’s note: Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Central Asia was the scene of intense geopolitical struggle and the Great Game between the British and Russian Empires, and later between the Soviet Union and the West, over Afghanistan and neighboring territories. Into the 21st century, Central Asia has become the area of a renewed geopolitical interest, dubbed the New Great Game, largely based on the region’s hydrocarbon and mineral wealth. On top of that, the region now is perhaps the most important node in the implementation of China’s One Belt, One Road initiative through which Beijing aims to get direct access to Western markets. Every week thousands of news appears in the world’s printed and online media and many of them may escape the attention of busy readers. At The Times of Central Asia, we strongly believe that more information can better contribute to peaceful development and better knowledge of this unique region. So we are presenting this Weekly Digest which compiles what other media have reported on Central Asia over the past week.

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ADB approves additional $2.5 million grant to Tajikistan for COVID-19 response

  • Written by TCA

DUSHANBE (TCA) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved an additional $2.5 million grant to Tajikistan from its Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund (APDRF) to further support the government’s emergency response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, ADB said on August 7.

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Taiwan’s IoT sector sees record output

  • Written by TCA

TAIPEI (TCA) — The output of Taiwan’s Internet of Things sector totaled US$43.6 billion in 2019, up nearly 12 percent year on year to the highest amount on record, the country’s National Development Council said, Taiwan Today reported.

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US fosters transboundary water cooperation between Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan

  • Written by TCA

DUSHANBE (TCA) — U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan John Mark Pommersheim participated in an event to celebrate the opening of the Agency of Land Reclamation and Irrigation’s renovated conference hall, and a ceremonial handover of a wheel excavator for the Tajik Isfana Small Basin Council in Jabbor-Rasulov district of Sughd province, both of which were supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) at a cost of $125,000, the U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan reported on August 6.

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USAID completes successful HIV Flagship program in Central Asia

  • Written by TCA

NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on August 6 completed its successful HIV Flagship program in Central Asia. In Kazakhstan, the program included HIV testing, linking HIV-positive people with social services, and introducing self-tests to East Kazakhstan and Pavlodar regions, the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan reported.

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Tajikistan to hold presidential election on October 11

  • Written by TCA

DUSHANBE (TCA) — Tajikistan's parliament has set October 11 as the date for the country's next presidential election.

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Central Asia: COVID-19 pandemic may result in a long-term human development crisis, World Bank experts warn

  • Written by TCA

ALMATY, Kazakhstan (TCA) — The COVID-19 pandemic can have a detrimental and long-lasting impact on education and human capital, economic and social development in Central Asian countries, where schoolchildren and students make up nearly half of the overall population, warned World Bank experts at an online briefing held on August 5 for regional media, experts, academia, and development community in the region. The crisis threatens to deprive this generation of future earnings, as it pushes a large share of Central Asian students into functional illiteracy – inability to read, write, and do math at a level necessary to be productive, the World Bank estimates.

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USAID project identifies over 1,200 new HIV cases in Kyrgyzstan

  • Written by TCA

BISHKEK (TCA) — In the last five years, the USAID Central Asia HIV Flagship Activity helped conduct over 57,000 HIV tests in Kyrgyzstan, identifying more than 1,200 previously undetected cases of HIV infection. Through this project’s support, more than 2,000 people living with HIV started or restarted their life-saving treatment. The project held its online closeout conference on August 5, announcing these and other results from the last five years of work, the U.S. Embassy in Kyrgyzstan reported.

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A third of Afghanistan population estimated to have coronavirus

  • Written by TCA

KABUL (TCA) — Afghanistan’s Health Ministry estimates that nearly a third of the country’s population — or 10 million people — has been infected with the coronavirus, RFE/RL reported.

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Kazakhstan allows transit of Kyrgyz, Uzbek migrants stranded in Russia

  • Written by TCA

NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — Kazakhstan has allowed the transit of thousands of Uzbek and Kyrgyz migrant workers who've been stranded in Russia for months along the border with Kazakhstan due to coronavirus travel restrictions, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported.

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US plans first Cabinet-level visit to Taiwan in six years

  • Written by TCA

TAIPEI (TCA) — Alex Azar, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will visit Taiwan in the coming days, the first trip to Taiwan by a Cabinet-level U.S. official in six years, the department said on August 4, Focus Taiwan reported.

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Afghanistan: New World Bank grants to cushion impact of COVID-19 on poor households and protect food security

  • Written by TCA

KABUL (TCA) — The World Bank Board of Executive Directors on August 4 approved two grants totaling $210 million from the International Development Association (IDA), as part of a larger financial package of $380 million, to help Afghanistan cushion the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Afghan households, support critical food supply chains, and provide emergency support to farmers, the World Bank said.

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OSCE provides protective gear to its Tajikistan partners to fight COVID-19

  • Written by TCA

DUSHANBE (TCA) — The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Programme Office in Dushanbe provided practical assistance items worth of 50,000 euro to its partners in Tajik ministries, law enforcement agencies, local executive bodies and civil society in order to strengthen efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The Office delivered and handed the items over to its partners in the Dushanbe, Sughd, Rasht, Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous and Khatlon regions from 22 July to 4 August 2020.

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Central Asian labor migrants trapped in Russia amid pandemic

  • Written by TCA

BISHKEK (TCA) — Dozens of Central Asian migrants trapped in Russia amid the coronavirus pandemic were pushed back by guards when they tried to cross the border into Kazakhstan, RFE/RL reported.

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USAID and INTILISH join forces to end tuberculosis in Uzbekistan

  • Written by TCA

TASHKENT (TCA) — On August 3, the United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the non-governmental organization, Republican Informational Educational Center (RIEC) INTILISH, announced the launch of a new $1 million USAID-funded End Tuberculosis (TB) Uzbekistan activity. Through the new activity, USAID will support INTILISH’s efforts to combat TB, especially hard to treat drug-resistant (DR) TB, the U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan said.

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Kazakhstan sees positive trend in fight against COVID-19

  • Written by TCA

NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — The daily increase in confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in Kazakhstan does not exceed 1.2% and every day a decrease in the number of cases is recorded, Health Minister Aleksei Tsoi said at the government session on August 4 chaired by the Prime Minister Askar Mamin, primeminister.kz reported.

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EFSD to provide financial credit to Tajikistan and grants for health projects

  • Written by TCA

DUSHANBE (TCA) — The Council of the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development (EFSD) will provide a US $50 million financial credit to Tajikistan. The funds will be used to implement the Tajik Government and National Bank’s program to counter the impacts of COVID-19 on the country’s economic, financial, and social sectors, the press service of the Eurasian Development Bank said on August 3.

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Kazakhstan: Activist pickets Chinese Consulate in Almaty

  • Written by TCA

ALMATY, Kazakhstan (TCA) — Police in Kazakhstan's largest city on August 3 detained an activist who was picketing the Chinese Consulate in protest to recent statements by Chinese Ambassador Zhang Xiao about Chinese-Kazakh military cooperation, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported.

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ADB $100 million loan to help strengthen Uzbekistan's resilience to health emergencies

  • Written by TCA

TASHKENT (TCA) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $100 million loan to strengthen Uzbekistan’s resilience to public health emergencies, including the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, by steadily improving testing, diagnosis, and the management of COVID-19 cases over the next two years, the Bank said on August 3.

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World Bank appoints new country manager for Kyrgyzstan

  • Written by TCA

BISHKEK (TCA) — The World Bank on August 1 announced the appointment of Naveed Hassan Naqvi as World Bank Country Manager for the Kyrgyz Republic, replacing Bolormaa Amgaabazar who was in this position since August 2017.

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Taiwan-France cultural cooperation pact signed

  • Written by TCA

TAIPEI (TCA) — An agreement aimed at expanding Taiwan-France cultural cooperation was inked by the Ministry of Culture of Taiwan and National Center for Contemporary Arts on July 28 in Nantes, Taiwan Today reported.

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Kyrgyzstan: UCA distributes food and supplies to Naryn's Tosh-Bulak district on Eid

  • Written by TCA

BISHKEK (TCA) — Eid festivities in the district of Tosh-Bulak in Naryn, Kyrgyzstan received a welcome surprise when the University of Central Asia (UCA) brought care packages containing food, hand sanitizers, masks, and other supplies. These were distributed on August 1 to 30 vulnerable families identified by the Mayor of Naryn, UCA said.

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US secretary of state says US firms 'becoming aware' of abuses in Xinjiang

  • Written by TCA

BISHKEK (TCA) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said American companies are “becoming aware” of human rights abuses in the Chinese province of Xinjiang as he reiterated his call for them to reconsider doing business there, RFE/RL reported.

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Weekly Digest of Central Asia

  • Written by TCA

BISHKEK (TCA) — The Publisher’s note: Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Central Asia was the scene of intense geopolitical struggle and the Great Game between the British and Russian Empires, and later between the Soviet Union and the West, over Afghanistan and neighboring territories. Into the 21st century, Central Asia has become the area of a renewed geopolitical interest, dubbed the New Great Game, largely based on the region’s hydrocarbon and mineral wealth. On top of that, the region now is perhaps the most important node in the implementation of China’s One Belt, One Road initiative through which Beijing aims to get direct access to Western markets. Every week thousands of news appears in the world’s printed and online media and many of them may escape the attention of busy readers. At The Times of Central Asia, we strongly believe that more information can better contribute to peaceful development and better knowledge of this unique region. So we are presenting this Weekly Digest which compiles what other media have reported on Central Asia over the past week.

KAZAKHSTAN

Kazakhstan: Police contain unrest, but anxiety over lawlessness is creeping

Authorities are particularly concerned by the actions of online "provocateurs"

July 24 — “A pair of instances of mass disturbance in Kazakhstan within the space of a few days have spotlighted the delicate state of public order in the regions as the economy sputters and discontent festers. On the night of July 24, a crowd in the city of Satpayev, in the central Karaganda region, tried to lynch a man suspected of abducting and raping a five-year-old girl. Police had found the child a day earlier after hours of searching.” READ MORE: https://eurasianet.org/kazakhstan-police-contain-unrest-but-anxiety-over-lawlessness-is-creeping

“Coronavirus” Bonuses to Health Workers in Kazakhstan: Will Be or Won’t Be

Kazakhstan suspended additional payments to health workers who are involved in the struggle against coronavirus despite the fact that the situation in the country got worse significantly

July 28 — “Bonuses were paid from March to May 2020, but now when the country registers nearly 1,600-1,900 cases daily payments were suspended. Since March 1, according to the decree of President Kassym Zhomart-Tokayev, health workers of Kazakhstan were receiving bonuses for actual hours worked. Amounts depended on the level of risk of contamination. Bonuses for 850 thousand tenge (2,064 dollars) were intended for health workers who have “very high” health risk. These are doctors, paramedical workers and medical attendants of infectious hospitals, including intensive care units.” READ MORE: https://cabar.asia/en/coronavirus-bonuses-to-health-workers-in-kazakhstan-will-be-or-won-t-be/

Kazakh Government, National Bank Adopt Joint Plan to Mitigate COVID-19 Fallout

The main goal will be developing a new economic structure with increased self-sufficiency and import substitution, the targeted attraction of investments and boosting export potential

July 31 — “The Kazakh government and the National Bank have adopted a new plan that includes measures to support the economy in case the social and economic situation continues to worsen, said Kazakh Minister of National Economy Ruslan Dalenov at a July 29 press briefing. The plan goes in line with instructions from Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to develop a package of additional measures to support the nation’s economy amid the pandemic.” READ MORE: https://astanatimes.com/2020/07/kazakh-government-national-bank-adopt-joint-plan-to-mitigate-covid-19-fallout/

KYRGYZSTAN

Kyrgyzstan: Tough Fight against Covid-19 and Pneumonia

The number of bearers of coronavirus and pneumonia has increased sharply since the beginning of summer in Kyrgyzstan

July 27 — “A 46-year-old Azimbek Muratov felt throat irritation and strange feelings in chest on June 19. Two days later, he had raised body temperature. He lost his smell and taste. He managed to call only the district doctor of the polyclinic as all hotlines of the health ministry were busy for two months already and it was almost impossible to reach them. The family medicine centre promised to send a mobile team to him, but health workers arrived just a week later, when his four-year-old son’s temperature raised.” READ MORE: https://cabar.asia/en/kyrgyzstan-tough-fight-against-covid-19-and-pneumonia/

Kyrgyzstan: Will fury around Askarov death end up signifying nothing?

The activist’s death in prison reflects poorly on the substantial investments that the international community has made into overhauling Kyrgyzstan’s notoriously selective and corrupt justice system

July 29 — “Kyrgyzstan stood fast for a decade against international calls for a thorough review of the case of imprisoned rights activist and journalist Azimjan Askarov. But the death of Askarov over the weekend, which occurred hours after prison authorities scoffed at concerns that the long-ailing 69-year-old had become critically ill, may potentially intensify that diplomatic pressure. The question is whether the outrage will carry real consequences.” READ MORE: https://eurasianet.org/kyrgyzstan-will-fury-around-askarov-death-end-up-signifying-nothing

Will Kyrgyzstan Postpone Its October Parliamentary Polls?

A date is set, but Kyrgyz citizens have serious concerns about the safety of holding an election amid a pandemic spinning out of control

July 30 — “On July 2, Kyrgyz President Soroonbay Jeenbekov signed a decree scheduling the next parliamentary election on October 4, 2020. The decree assigns responsibility to the government to issue the necessary financial resources, assist the Central Election Commission (CEC), and provide for security, including the cybersecurity and the protection of public health.According to the decree, the Prosecutor General’s office must ensure that the relevant laws and the Kyrgyz constitution are adhered to. The regional governments, mayors, and local officials are tasked with clarifying voter lists and assisting with technical and organizational matters.” READ MORE: https://thediplomat.com/2020/07/will-kyrgyzstan-postpone-its-october-parliamentary-polls/

TAJIKISTAN

Hot With A Chance Of COVID: Tajik Weather Forecast Irks Turkmenistan

Although Turkmenistan has not officially registered any coronavirus cases, reports say that local hospitals have been overwhelmed with patients with pneumonia symptoms, some of whom, including medical personnel, have died

July 28 — “A weather forecast in Tajikistan by the Moscow-based Mir TV channel warning of a coming heatwave has irked Ashgabat because it mentions Turkmenistan, which feels it implied the coronavirus would be carried into its neighbor by the weather system. The Turkmen Foreign Ministry said in a statement on July 28 that it had "deep concerns" over the weather forecast, saying it was "politically incorrect" to mention Turkmenistan, the only country in Central Asia that has not officially registered a single coronavirus case within its borders, at a time of heightened fears over how the coronavirus and other infections spread by air.” READ MORE: https://www.rferl.org/a/hot-with-a-chance-of-covid-tajik-weather-forecast-irks-turkmenistan/30753366.html

Tajikistan: Coronavirus brings bonanza of aid, but zero accountability

There is already evidence that money earmarked for coping with the COVID-19 crisis is not being spent accountably and that sizable chunks of it will disappear into nebulous rabbit holes

July 29 — “Before the coronavirus pandemic struck, Tajikistan had to plead and wheedle for any grant money and loans that came its way. Since the crisis arrived, however, the government has received at least $300 million in grants and credit and is expecting another $70 million or so. Jamoliddin Nuraliyev, first deputy head of the National Bank of Tajikistan, or NBT, said on July 27 that the anticipated $52.5 million from the Asian Development Bank and the $16 million pledged by the World Bank would be used for “development of the country's economy and banking system." READ MORE: https://eurasianet.org/tajikistan-coronavirus-brings-bonanza-of-aid-but-zero-accountability

Beijing Implies Tajikistan’s Pamir Region Should Be Returned to China

The Pamirs has long been a murky region, over which outside powers have struggled for control

July 30 — “A major scandal has broken out between China, on the one hand, and Tajikistan and Russia, on the other, regarding alleged Chinese claims on the Pamir region. This past month, official outlets of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) repeatedly republished an article by Chinese historian Cho Yao Lu, who says that the entire Pamir region belonged to China at one time and consequently, he implies, Tajikistan should now or in the future return it to Beijing. Of course, such a territorial concession would dramatically change the geopolitical balance in this corner of Eurasia, affecting not only the position of the Central Asian countries but also those of neighboring Afghanistan and Western powers like the United States, whose military forces are deployed there.” READ MORE: https://jamestown.org/program/beijing-implies-tajikistans-pamir-region-should-be-returned-to-china/

TURKMENISTAN

“It came with the wind…” – Turkmenistan’s Covid-19 response marked by denial, ludicrous explanations and attempts to cover up the truth

After the Turkmen president called for making “every effort” to prevent Covid-19 from reaching Turkmenistan, the government appeared bent on demonstrating the absence of Covid-19 in the country at any cost

July 27 — “A new briefing paper prepared by International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) and Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights (TIHR) examines the human rights impact of Turkmenistan’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The paper documents how the authorities of this closed country have responded to the pandemic with denial, lack of transparency and attempts to cover up the truth as part of a long-term pattern of government censorship and suppression of information on issues of public interest.” READ MORE: https://en.hronikatm.com/2020/07/it-came-with-the-wind-turkmenistans-covid-19-response-marked-by-denial-ludicrous-explanations-and-attempts-to-cover-up-the-truth/

Turkmenistan Squeezes Students Abroad, Pressuring Them To Return Home

In Ashgabat, some parents were told that their children studying abroad can write a letter to Turkmen embassies and ask for financial help. That, however, would effectively end their studies abroad once the students return home for a holiday, the authorities have warned

July 28 — “A crowd of people lining up at the foreign-transfer desk is a familiar scene at Dashoguz’s state-run Senagat Bank, one of the few places locals can use to send money to their relatives abroad. "The bank is making it increasingly difficult for us to send money to our children studying abroad," says a woman waiting in line. "It deliberately delays the process using all kinds of pretexts, sending us back to provide more and more documents." READ MORE: https://www.rferl.org/a/turkmenistan-squeezes-students-abroad-pressuring-them-to-return-home/30753787.html

Turkmenistan: Winds of strange

In its ‘Akhal-Teke: A Turkmenistan Bulletin’, Eurasianet reviews the main news and events in the Central Asian country for the previous week

July 28 — “Authorities in Turkmenistan’s capital have come up with a novel solution for avoiding the appearance of epidemiologically perilous crowds: remove ATM machines. Amsterdam-based Turkmen.news reported on July 22 that cash machines have been removed from a pair of bazaars and several popular shopping malls. This policy has the additional benefit, from the government’s perspective, of ending the sight of dozens or hundreds of people waiting in line from early in the morning to get a hold of hard-to-find and gradually devaluating manat.” READ MORE: https://eurasianet.org/turkmenistan-winds-of-strange

UZBEKISTAN

“Uzbekistan Has Opened up to the World”. Has the Country Been Closed?

The closeness or closure of Uzbekistan is essentially a new false stereotype that appeared under the influence of the huge impressions of the large-scale reforms that were initiated with the coming to power of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, says Farhod Tolipov, director of the non-state scientific institution “Caravan of Knowledge”

July 28 — “Today, the ubiquitous opinion that Uzbekistan is opening has become a mantra. A lot of similar statements, terms, concepts that distort the actual state of affairs have recently accumulated in the political, media and expert lexicon. As strange and paradoxical as it may seem, I argue that Uzbekistan is not opening because it has never been closed. The closeness or closure of Uzbekistan is, in fact, a new false stereotype that appeared under the influence of the huge impressions of the large-scale reforms that were initiated with the coming to power of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.” READ MORE: https://cabar.asia/en/uzbekistan-has-opened-up-to-the-world-has-the-country-been-closed/

As Uzbekistan’s public health system buckles, state handout for private university tied to Tashkent mayor triggers anger

With public health infrastructure in Uzbekistan’s capital under severe strain, questions are being raised over a generous state handout for a new private medical university launched by a conglomerate founded by Tashkent’s mayor

July 29 — “Last year, openDemocracy published research by Ulster University pointing to the award of significant state benefits to businesses tied to the mayor of Tashkent, Uzbek businessman Jahongir Artikhodjaev. These benefits included the awarding of construction contracts, and investment opportunities, for a major Tashkent property development to businesses in Uzbekistan’s Akfa-Artel group, founded by Artikhodjaev. At the time, Artikhodjaev denied any conflict of interest, and claimed he took no part in the management of the group. According to Uzbekistan’s corporate register, the mayor retains significant shareholdings in the Akfa-Artel group.” READ MORE: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/odr/uzbekistan-akfa-university/

Uzbekistan's Coronavirus 'Success Story' Rapidly Falls Apart

Although Uzbekistan seemed to be doing quite well in confronting the coronavirus early on, the situation soon seemed to start spiraling out of control

July 30 — “Uzbek authorities seemed to be prepared for the looming health crisis once it became apparent the coronavirus was becoming a global pandemic. The first official case in Uzbekistan of the virus -- which first originated in China -- was reported on March 15. A week later, Uzbekistan closed all its borders and the government ordered quarantine centers set up to temporarily house mainly migrant workers that would be returning from abroad in the coming weeks. It also created a special department to run the centers.” READ MORE: https://www.rferl.org/a/uzbekistan-s-coronavirus-success-story-rapidly-falls-apart/30756514.html

AFGHANISTAN

Afghanistan’s Gen Z Is Fighting Back

Younger Afghans are on a mission to change how their country talks about life, death, and freedom

July 27 — “There were few things that scared Fatima Khalil, a 24-year-old human rights activist who torpedoed her way across an increasingly volatile and patriarchal landscape of Afghanistan. One of them, Lima Ahmad, her older sister, told me in July, was “that Afghanistan will take away her happiness; it was something she always talked about.” Ahmad is now picking up the remnants of a life after Khalil was killed in an attack on her vehicle in Kabul on June 27.” READ MORE: https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/07/27/afghanistans-gen-z-is-fighting-back/

The role of Afghanistan’s resources in security

The country's vast mineral reserves present both opportunity and potential dangers

July 30 — “Afghanistan is a mountainous country. Although this land has had precious mines since ancient times, during most of the 20th century it did not progress in terms of exploration and exploitation of its mineral resources and it did not receive much attention from foreign countries. After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, more attention was paid to this, leading to the discovery and identification of resources such as copper and iron.” READ MORE: https://asiatimes.com/2020/07/the-role-of-afghanistans-resources-in-security/

Afghanistan Facing Humanitarian Disaster Amid Pandemic, Continued Violence, U.S. Watchdog Finds

About one-third of Afghanistan's estimated 32.2 million people were either in a crisis or an emergency state of food insecurity

July 31 — “Millions more Afghans are being pushed into poverty by the coronavirus pandemic, which has overwhelmed the war-wracked country's basic health-care system and exacerbated food insecurity, a U.S. watchdog said on July 30. The pandemic's devastating effect, combined with the continued high levels of violence, has brought one of the world's poorest countries to the brink, the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said in its quarterly report, warning that the country "is headed for a humanitarian disaster." READ MORE: https://www.rferl.org/a/afghanistan-facing-humanitarian-disaster-amid-pandemic-continued-violence-u-s-watchdog-finds/30758356.html

WORLD

Coronavirus Crisis Accelerates China's Grab For Power, Influence In Central Asia

The Central Asian countries are used to walking a tightrope between large powers and hedging their bets between Beijing, Moscow, and Washington

July 26 — “As China's enormous economy starts to rev up again with the worst of the pandemic behind it, the desperate countries of Central Asia may find their economic -- and political -- futures tied to a more assertive Beijing. With only a relative handful of coronavirus cases remaining, China appears to be the first major economy in the world to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic.” READ MORE: https://www.rferl.org/a/coronavirus-crisis-accelerates-china-s-grab-for-power-influence-in-central-asia/30747653.html

European States Reappraise Their Diplomatic and Investment Relationships with China

Officials in both Beijing and Brussels have wanted to increase mutual economic engagement, albeit with different objectives in mind

July 29 — “As the European Union seeks to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic that paralyzed much of its normal political agenda, some member states have also been seeking a way out of major Sino-European initiatives. For example, People’s Republic of China (PRC) diplomats have invested considerable effort in promoting the “17+1” cooperation framework for Central and Eastern European countries (China Brief, February 15, 2019; China Brief, May 29, 2019). However, this initiative seems to be unraveling from the Baltic end: as argued by Sven Saakov, the head of the International Center for Defense Studies under the Estonian Ministry of Defense, Estonia should find a polite way out of the initiative and communicate this to the PRC via Brussels (ERR, 20 May).” READ MORE: https://jamestown.org/program/european-states-reappraise-their-diplomatic-and-investment-relationships-with-china/

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