Afghanistan is known as the graveyard of empires for a reason.

Occupying prime geopolitical real estate as a land bridge between Europe and Asia, the country has figured into continental trade routes for as long as humans have been trading. This geography is still highly relevant today, evident in the regional trade schemes lining up to incorporate Afghanistan: China’s Belt and Road (BRI), India’s North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC), and the Lapis Lazuli corridor to name a few.

Now that the United States is heading for the exits, Afghanistan will once again become a coveted piece on the geopolitical chessboard of regional heavyweights. This series will examine their goals and motivations. It continues with Russia, a country that is just now reentering the Afghan foray after a long absence following the Soviet Union’s withdrawal in 1989.