Development of kazakhstani relations with Afghanistan at the present stage

The cooperation of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Afghanistan was laid on February 12, 1992, when diplomatic relations were established between two countries. Political quarters of these states noted progressive and dynamic of Kazakh-Afghan relations throughout the period of the interrelationship. The Heads of these States meet each other regularly in various international events [1].

The history of cooperation between Kazakhstan and Afghanistan conventionally can be divided into three stages. The first stage from the moment of establishment of diplomatic relations until 2003 can be considered as a period of development cooperation and the formation of a contractual framework. There is a mutual recognition and development of the main directions of cooperation between the two countries.

This stage is also characterized by inertness and absence of any significant events in bilateral relations. Important event during this period are:

  • establishment of diplomatic relations (February 12, 1992);
  • visit of Abdul Rahim Hatef, Vice-president of Afghanistan (1992);
  • opening of Embassy of Afghanistan in Kazakhstan (1993);
  • opening of Diplomatic mission of Kazakhstan in Kabul (2002, in 2003 was transformed into Embassy);
  • humanitarian aid to Afghanistan: 3 thousand tons of wheat (2002); 192 tons of foodstuffs (2003); transfer of surplus clothing to Afghan National Army (2003) [2].

But, it should be mentioned that in 1996, when the situation generally in Afghanistan and in Kabul in particular, deteriorated, it was Kazakhstan who called on the UN Security Council to intervene and take immediate action [3].

The second stage 2004-2014 years can be described as a period of transition goals into practice in key areas of economic, trade and humanitarian cooperation. During these years, the basis of the bilateral legal framework have made the Treaty on the basis of relations and cooperation between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, their intergovernmental agreements on trade and economic cooperation, cooperation in the field of education, cooperation in the fight against illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and their analogues and precursors and abuse, as well as the Protocol on establishing of diplomatic relations.

After the establishment of the juridical base of bilateral relations Kazakhstan was prepared to have to move their contacts with Afghanistan in the realization plane of certain economic projects. Important moments of cooperation at this stage is the opening in 2003 of the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Afghanistan and the arrival of the first Kazakhstani companies in 2004 [4].

Foreign trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Afghanistan in 2014 amounted to USD 336.7 mln., that is in 33% more than in 2013. At the same time exports of Kazakhstan increased by 33% and amounted to USD 333.5 mln. And imports of Kazakhstan to Afghanistan increased to 7.2% and amounted to USD 3.2 mln. The trade balance was positive in the amount of USD 330.4 mln. The Kazakh-Afghan intergovernmental commission (IGC) plays an important role in the development of trade and economic relations on trade and economic cooperation. IGC held seven meetings: three meetings in Astana (2007, 2010 and 2015), three in Kabul (2008, 2011 and 2013) and one in Almaty (2012) [5].

At this time, the government of Kazakhstan considered the issue of a special program of cooperation with Afghanistan, which was intended to strengthen the humanitarian and economic partnership, investing in different sectors of the economy and cooperation in the preparation and training of qualified personnel [4].

Kazakhstan implements an educational programs for Afghan citizens. Currently 827 of Afghan citizens are educated in educational institutions of Kazakhstan [6]. Kazakhstan allocated about USD 2.38 mln. for the construction of schools, hospitals and roads in Afghanistan [1]. Kazakhstan financed the construction of the school in Samangan province and hospital in Bamyan province, as well as repair work on the road between Kunduz and Talukan [7] Humanitarian supplies in the amount of about USD 20.15 thousand of tonnes of food (worth over USD USD 17.09 mln.) have also been implemented. In addition, within the framework of the implementation of international obligations, Kazakhstan has transferred USD 1.5 mln. for the construction of 4 types of bridges in Afghanistani cities [1].

During the joint briefing after the talks of the Presidents of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani held on November 20, 2015 the President of Kazakhstan emphasized that «Kazakhstan has always supported Afghanistan in the difficult years for him. In particular, since 2002, the supply of food to 20 million dollars has been carried out, financial means was strengthen for law enforcement, and USD 50 million for the training of Afghan students in our country» [8].

The third stage (2014 to the present time.) further expanding areas of cooperation between the two countries.

Now the Kazakh-Afghan relations have reached the level of development of the strategy of bilateral relations. June 14, 2007 in Astana, the meeting was held between the head of the Afghan delegation the First Vice-President of Afghanistan Ahmad Zia Massoud with the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Karim Masimov. Day before a special bilateral commision was created to develop a program of cooperation between Afghanistan and Kazakhstan. «We welcome the establishment of the intergovernmental commission, and I’m sure it will be a very important step in the strengthening of economic cooperation between the two countries», said Ahmad Zia Massoud [4].

Now relations have moved to the level of the intergovernmental dialogue and the stage of drawing up the programs of cooperation.

Within the framework of the official visit of the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan M.Gani to Kazakhstan the following bilateral documents were signed:

  • Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on cooperation in the field of civil defense, prevention and liquidation of emergency situations;
  • Agreement of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on cooperation in the field of culture [8].

One of the most important issues in the context of cooperation between the two states is security. Dr. Kassenova analyzed the factors shaping Central Asian policies towards Afghanistan. According to her research Kazakhstan does not share a border with Afghanistan and is, therefore, less vulnerable than some of the other Central Asian states to security threats and challenges coming from Afghanistan. This, coupled with the lack of ethnic affinity between people in Kazakhstan and Afghanistan, has allowed a calmer and less biased approach to developments in Afghanistan. Kazakhstan has always been a major supporter of the 1992 Collective Security Treaty (CST) arrangements, and could be said to be reliant on the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) for its security needs. Nevertheless, it has sought deeper cooperation with both the USA and NATO as part of its multi-vector foreign policy [9, p. 3].

The further development of the Kazakh-Afghan relations have very good prospects. Kazakh President has drawn attention to the fact that the subsoil of Afghanistan [10] is rich of minerals, and Kazakhstan has experts who can be involved in geological exploration works. A number of Afghan analysts meanwhile believe that signing of economic and trade agreements with Kazakhstan is vital for Afghanistan.


List of references

  1. Sotrudnichestvo Respubliki Kazahstan s Islamskoj Respublikoj Afganistan. Informaciya s sajta MID RK [Cooperation of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Information from the Kazakh MFA site] 2013, 04 December // sotrudnichestvo-so-stranami-azii-i-afriki/84-vneshnyaya-politika/sotrudnichestvo-kazakhstana/sotrudnichestvo-sostranami-azii-i-afriki/350-sotrudnichestvo-respubliki-kazakhstan-s-islamskoj-respublikoj-afganistan
  2. Brief characteristic of Kazakhstan-Afghanistan diplomatic relations // 5/2014/06/27/3212f6574003562bc960599c064f94de.pdf
  3. Gani diversificiruet afganskuyu politiku cherez Kazahstan. [Ghani diversifies Afghan policy through Kazakhstan] 23.11.2015 //
  4. Verkhoturov Krepkoe partnerstvo Kazahstana i Afganistana [Strong partnership between Kazakhstan and Afghanistan. July 16, 2007]//
  5. Stranovoj obzor za Afghanistan. [Country Review for 2015. Afghanistan] //http://www.kaznexinvest. kz/images/%D0%90%D0%A4%D0%93%D0%90%D0%9D%D0%98%D0%A1%D0%A2%D0%90%D0%9D.pdf
  6. Michelle Scholarship Programme for Afghan Students Nearing Final Goal // EURASIA & WORLD on 20 FEBRUARY 2015.
  7. Speech by the Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the US H. Kairat Umarov to Central Asia and Caucasus Institute, 9 Apr. 2013. URL: (Access 20.05.2016).
  8. Mezhdunarodnoe informacionnoe agentstvo Kazinform. Kazakhstan i Afghanistan podpisali ryad dvustoronnih dokumentov [International news agency Kazakhstan and Afghanistan have signed a number of bilateral documents] Astana, 20 November 2015//
  9. Kassenova Relations between Afghanistan and Central Asian States After 2014: Incentives, Constraints and Prospects. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 2014.29 p.
  10. Kazakhstan i Afganistan aktiviziruyut torgovo-ekonomicheskoye sotrudnichestvo [Kazakhstan and Afghanistan are stepping up trade and economic cooperation]. 11.2015 //
Magazine: NO
Year: 2016
City: Astana
Category: Economy