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Debating Room

Friday 22 September 2017

FILE: Kazakhstan's railway staff line up to welcome foreign diplomats at a border crossing with China.

This week's Majlis podcast looks at the effects of China's One Belt, One Road (OBOR) trade connectivity initiative on Central Asia.

This week's Majlis podcast looks at the effects of China's One Belt, One Road (OBOR) trade connectivity initiative on Central Asia.

The topic was sparked by a recent report from The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS) -- A Road To Riches Or A Road To Ruin? The Geo-Economic Implications Of China's New Silk Road.

Muhammad Tahir, RFE/RL's media-relations manager, moderated the discussion.

Sijbren de Jong, one of the authors of the report and a strategic analyst at HCSS, joined the Majlis from China. From Washington, Jonathan Hillman, director of the Reconnecting Asia Project at the Central for Strategic and International Studies, took part in the talk. And I was happy to say a few things on the subject also.

Afghan soldiers take positions in restive Achin district in the eastern Nangarhar province on August 18. Afghan and U.S. forces are engaged in an operation against the Islamic State militants in August.

The new U.S. "strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia" is being debated in the country and around the globe after President Donald Trump laid it out late on August 21.

The new U.S. "strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia" is being debated in the country and around the globe after President Donald Trump laid it out late on August 21.

The strategy commits to an open-ended counterterrorism effort by declaring, “We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists” while skirting any details on deadlines, tactics, and troop numbers.

The strategy singles out Pakistan for “housing the very terrorists that we are fighting.” It also calls on its archrival India to help with “assistance and development” in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has welcomed the strategy, which links Washington’s assistance to “real reforms, real progress, and real results.”

To discuss this issue, we turned to Omar Samad, a former Afghan ambassador to France and Canada. Shahmahmood Miakhel, the country director of the United States Institute of Peace for Afghanistan, joined our discussion from Kabul. I contributed from Prague while my colleague Muhammad Tahir, RFE/RL’s media relations manager, moderated our discussion from Washington.

Listen to or download the Gandhara Podcast:

The views expressed in this podcast do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

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