Afghanistan in a Neighbourhood Perspective

Led by Kristian Berg Harpviken
Jul 2009 -

​​​​​​In realization of the critical role of Afghanistan’s neighbourhood to a sustainable peace in the country, this project describes and analyses the regional security dynamic. A basic premise of the project is that each of Afghanistan’s surrounding regions – South AsiaCentral Asia and the Persian Gulf – have​​ an inherent dominant security dynamic of their own. Hence, the engagement and policies of neighbouring states vis-a-vis Afghanistan as well as their interaction with global powers, is primarily a reflection of existential security concerns within their own region. Focus is on near political history, particularly post-2001 developments. A number of questions fundamental to formulating a policy for constructive third party engagement is addressed.​

The first phase of this project (2009–2013) led to the preparation of four comprehensive papers, first a general overview and framework and subsequent papers devoted to each of the three regions (see links above or under the Publications tab below).

The main purpose of the ongoing second phase (2014–) is to refine the policy implications of the initial study and make those available to broader audiences. At the same time, the new project aims to initiate a working dialogue with selected experts and policy makers on policy options.

Kristian Berg Harpviken (senior researcher; PRIO director) is the project leader and Shahrbanou Tadjbaksh (Sciences Po, Paris) is engaged in a central research capacity.

Research Groups


Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Harpviken, Kristian Berg (2010) Caught in the Middle: Regional Perspectives on Afghanistan, Comparative Social Research 27: 277–305.


Harpviken, Kristian Berg & Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh (2016) A Rock Between Hard Places: Afghanistan as an Arena of Regional Insecurity. London/New York: Hurst/Oxford University Press.

PRIO Policy Brief

Brattvoll, Joakim (2016) Uzbekistan’s ambiguous policies on Afghanistan, PRIO Policy Brief, 1. Oslo: PRIO.
Brattvoll, Joakim (2016) Is Russia Back in Afghanistan?, PRIO Policy Brief, 4. Oslo: PRIO.

PRIO Paper

Tadjbakhsh, Shahrbanou & Mohammad Fazeli (2016) Iran and its Relationship to Afghanistan After the Nuclear Deal: A New Era for Constructive Interaction?, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.
Tadjbakhsh, Shahrbanou (2016) Regional Responses to Radicalization in Afghanistan: Obstacles, Opportunities and an Agenda for Action, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.
Tadjbakhsh, Shahrbanou (2013) The Persian Gulf and Afghanistan: Iran and Saudi Arabia's Rivalry Projected, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.
Tadjbakhsh, Shahrbanou (2012) Central Asia and Afghanistan: Insulation on the Silk Road, Between Eurasia and the Heart of Asia, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.
Tadjbakhsh, Shahrbanou (2011) South Asia and Afghanistan: The Robust India-Pakistan Rivalry, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.
Harpviken, Kristian Berg (2010) Afghanistan in a Neighbourhood Perspective: General Overview and Conceptualisation, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.


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