Tuesday, September 14, 2021
For both states, a swift takeover of power in Afghanistan is preferable to either prolonged civil war or a power vacuum. Their objectives are more defensive than acquisitive: averting broader regional instability, preventing jihadist expansion in their spheres of influence and in Russia's case, blocking large refugee flows.
- Afghanistan's relevance to the Chinese-Russian relationship is likely to diminish.
- Russia and China will gain some leverage from deciding whether Afghanistan retains observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
- Russia has made it clear it wants no large refugee flows to Central Asia, still less to its own territory.