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AFGHANISTAN AND IRAN JOINS CENTRAL ASIA

Following the recent decision of the Olympic Council of Asia, Afghanistan and Iran are now part of the Central Asian region. They join the region composed of the five former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Afghanistan was previously part of South Asia which include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka. Iran on the other hand was part of West Asia which is composed of all the Arab nations in the Middle East, such as Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, and Yemen.

The move is welcomed by most as it seen to be a practical and strategic solution. Iran was the only non-Arab nation in West Asia, and also does not belong to the Arab league of nations. Historical and political differences with their Arab neighbors proved to be problematic, not only in terms of sports but in other relationships as well.

Afghanistan on the other hand, shares their borders with Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The connection of Afghanistan to other South Asian nations is only through Pakistan, while their proximity to most of the members of Central Asia make it strategic in terms of cooperation particularly in sports.