Last week, Turkmenistan’s president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, gathered regional leaders in his marble capital ostensibly to mark Navruz, the Persian New Year. But he seemed more interested in talking gas and transportation deals than jumping over any fires, as Zoroastrian tradition instructs.
The biggest announcement to come out of the March 20-21 conclave – which included the presidents of Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Tajikistan – was a memorandum on building a yet-to-be-financed railway connecting Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. The route would help Dushanbe overcome its enforced isolation by Uzbekistan.
To read the full story
Murat Sadykov is the pseudonym for a journalist specializing in Central Asian affairs.