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Revitalizing US Diplomatic Engagement With Central Asia 

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Much ink has been spilled over the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the final chapter of America’s 20-year saga in the country will continue to be closely analyzed for years to come. But as the dust settles in Kabul, one serious question remains worth asking: What if the U.S. had needed some form of assistance and subsequent calls for help had gone unanswered? It’s hard to fathom just how much more chaotic the evacuation process could have been if calls for much-needed help were spurned.

Fortunately, that question remains hypothetical for now. For example, both Turkey and Azerbaijan played critical roles in the evacuation process, from providing security contingents around the airport in Kabul to operating a logistical hub out of Baku for planes assisting in the evacuation. The importance of this cooperation simply cannot be overstated in contributing to Washington’s ability to expedite its withdrawal from Afghanistan.

That said, while the U.S. military engagement in Afghanistan has officially drawn to a close, broader strategic imperatives in Central Asia and the Caucasus have no such end in sight. The most clear and present issues – such as the rising geopolitical threats of both Russia and China – demand international cooperation. The more nebulous prospects, like the threat of resurgent Islamic extremism in the region, will require proactive collaboration on the part of the U.S. and its allies. Each of these instances points to the need for an innovative U.S. diplomatic approach in........

© The Diplomat

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