The Northern Distribution Network to Afghanistan (NDN):
Strategic and Economic Implications

The Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at SAIS, Johns Hopkins University

September 28, 2009—Monday evening at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), experts Andrew Kuchins and Thomas Sanderson of CSIS gave a public preview of their joint project on the Northern Distribution Network (NDN). Dr. Fred Starr, Director of the Central Asia and Caucasus Institute and a key member of the CSIS working group, moderated.

The presentation revealed the shortcomings of, and recommended steps to improve, US foreign policy towards Afghanistan and the region. Key suggestions included matching America’s military presence in Afghanistan with equal attention to the region’s infrastructure needs.  Long-term economic planning is largely absent from U.S. policy in Greater Central Asia, and this critical shortcoming undermines the likelihood of success.  Only policies that address the interests of all involved nations—especially those along the NDN supply routes—can yield success.

The presentation fell on concerned ears—including former and current U.S. government officials. Economic development and regional cooperation, in conjunction with military action, is essential for long-term stability in Afghanistan as well as Greater Central Asia. Ultimately, a stable economy drives security—not only military presence.

For more information please consult the NDN Project page.