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Sahel: Landscape of Sahel by CIFOR licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED

Sandnes, Marie & Ilaria Carrozza (2023) Winds of Change? The Impact of Non-Western Powers’ Engagement in Afghanistan and the Sahel. PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.


This PRIO Paper examines the nature and impact of non-Western countries’ engagement in Afghanistan and the Sahel. Countries including China, Russia, Turkey, India, Pakistan and the Gulf states have all used a variety of tools to extend their influence in the two contexts. This has now coincided with the withdrawal of American security forces from Afghanistan and French security forces from the Sahel, potentially opening up space for neighbouring states, such as China and Russia, to play a larger role. Based on analysis of primary and secondary sources, as well as expert interviews, this report illuminates the challenges emanating from these changing dynamics and points to their consequences for the geopolitical and strategic environment in both regions. The report also makes recommendations for Norway to formulate its foreign policies towards both Afghanistan and the Sahel in light of these developments.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.