Intelligence Brief: Afghanistan Between Security Threats and Regional Economic Cooperation

Map of provinces and districts of Afghanistan
Map of provinces and districts of Afghanistan, November 2023 (Credits: ZakiFrahmand1, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Geopolitical Report ISSN 2785-2598 Volume 42 Issue 4
SpecialEurasia OSINT Unit

Executive Summary

The intelligence brief provides details on recent events in Afghanistan, highlighting the ongoing security threats but also economic collaboration with neighbouring countries. These events include the attack on a mosque in Herat province and the latest advancements in transit and trade infrastructure. The brief also highlights the potential collaboration in the mining sector between Astana and Kabul.


An unidentified assailant armed with a firearm attacked a mosque in Afghanistan’s western Herat province on April 29th, 2024, resulting in the deaths of at least six parishioners and injuring another individual.

While Kabul is still striving in countering terrorist groups and guaranteeing security in the country, the Taliban Government continues seeking economic cooperation with neighbouring countries.

On April 27th, 2024, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, and Turkmenistan have agreed to jointly develop transit and transport infrastructure in the Afghan territory to facilitate the passage of container trains from China through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and the Middle East. This agreement aims to reduce delivery times significantly, with preliminary calculations suggesting a reduction to 10-12 days for goods from Xi’an/Urumqi (PRC) to Afghanistan (Turgundi and Andkhoy).

Furthermore, Afghanistan and Kazakhstan have discussed cooperation in the mining sector, with Kabul agreeing to provide Astana with maps showing promising mineral deposits.


The assault on the mosque in Herat is a matter of concern, shedding light on the persistent security difficulties in the country.

The agreement between Astana, Kabul, and Ashgabat to develop transit and transport infrastructure in the Afghan territory is significant for regional connectivity and economic development. It underscores efforts to diversify trade routes and reduce dependence on traditional routes through Pakistan.

The cooperation between Kabul and Astana in the mining sector holds promise for both countries. Afghanistan’s rich mineral reserves, including oil, natural gas, coal, iron, non-ferrous ore, and rare earth metals, present opportunities for investment and development.


The attack on the mosque underscores the persistent threat of violence in the Afghan territory, which may undermine stability and deter foreign investment.

After the U.S. troops’ withdrawal in August 2021, the country has become a ‘safe heaven’ for several terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda. Additionally, the Islamic State Wilayat Khurasan (ISKP) has intensified its violent attacks against the Taliban and the civilian populations, affirming the country’s internal crisis and the Kabul’s inability to fully address local terrorist groups.

The Taliban’s rise to power resulted in a national socioeconomic and humanitarian crisis. The government has sought to counter the economic problems by attempting to attract investments and increase cooperation with neighbouring countries as the Central Asian republics or the People’s Republic of China.

The agreement on transit and transport infrastructure signifies a commitment to regional integration and economic growth. Streamlining trade routes and reducing delivery times will enhance Afghanistan’s position as a transit hub and stimulate trade and investment in the region.

Cooperation in the mining sector presents opportunities for both Kabul and Astana to harness their respective resources for mutual benefit. Kazakhstan’s expertise in the extraction and processing of minerals could support Afghanistan’s efforts to develop its mining industry and diversify its economy.

Afghanistan: Risk Scenarios

  1. Escalation of violence and instability. In the event of further deterioration in the security situation, there is a possibility of heightened instability, which would impede economic development and cooperation with neighbouring nations. Investors may become reluctant to engage in local projects, further exacerbating the country’s economic woes and impeding its ability to address pressing humanitarian issues. Continued violence could strain relations with neighbouring states, especially if terrorist activities spill over into their territories. This scenario could prompt increased military intervention or security cooperation among regional powers, potentially escalating tensions and complicating efforts to stabilise the region.
  2. Strengthening regional connectivity and economic growth. Despite security challenges, by streamlining trade routes and reducing delivery times, Kabul could emerge as a crucial transit hub, facilitating trade between China, Central Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East. If implemented successfully, this initiative could stimulate economic activity, create employment opportunities, and attract investment in Afghanistan. The enhanced infrastructure could additionally contribute to the nation’s reconstruction endeavours and aid in mitigating poverty, a vital aspect in stabilising the region. Enhanced connectivity could foster diplomatic and economic ties between Afghanistan and its neighbours, promoting cooperation and stability in the broader Central Asian region.


The security situation in Afghanistan remains precarious, with recent attacks highlighting the persistent threat of violence. However, the agreements regarding transit and transport infrastructure, along with cooperation in the mining sector, present opportunities for economic development and regional integration.

To capitalise on these opportunities and mitigate risks, Kabul must prioritise security measures while fostering diplomatic and economic ties with neighbouring countries. Strengthening regional connectivity and trade can contribute to Afghanistan’s stability and prosperity, but it requires concerted efforts from all stakeholders to address security concerns and create an environment conducive to investment and cooperation.

Read also | Al-Qaeda’S Persistent Threat in Afghanistan: A Geopolitical Perspective

If you require further information, reports, or risk assessments concerning Afghanistan, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Related Posts