Central Asian States Create New C5+1 Consulting Group

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The Central Asian states of Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Pakistan have grouped together with Afghanistan in what is known as the 5+1. These countries all share borders with Afghanistan, and effectively encircle the country. The initiative was announced at the meeting of foreign ministers of Central Asia and Afghanistan at their meeting this week in Ashgabat, and is designed to become an effective platform for discussion of the regional issues and development of joint measures for peace provision and sustainable development under UN support.

We can look at the regional dynamics as follows:

Country GDP (US$) Population (millions) GDP growth rate
Afghanistan 68 billion 36.3 2%
Iran 1.53 trillion 82 13.4%
Pakistan 284 billion 208 5.3%
Tajikistan 7 billion 9 6%
Turkmenistan 40 billion 5.8 7%
Uzbekistan 67 billion 32.5 5.3%

Much of the C5+1 efforts will be to contain terrorism and to help introduce stability, infrastructure, and supply chains into Afghanistan. The country is still heavily dependent upon aid and imports; getting the nation productive is a positive for all the countries concerned in addition to nearby giants of China and India.

The C5+1 announced in Ashgabat is a separate grouping from the US led C5+1, which groups the same five Central Asian countries with the United States. However, the new grouping is likely to follow similar goals, albeit with concentration on Afghanistan. These can be expected to include:

  • Counter terrorism;
  • Business competitiveness;
  • Transport corridor development;
  • Power infrastructure; and,
  • Climate change adaptation.

China will be highly interested in the C5+1 – it is already providing funding to the Lapis Lazuli Transport Corridor, which connects Afghanistan’s limited rail network through to Iran and onto Turkey and Georgia.


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