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Media Narrative Analysis: Iranian, Russian, and Chinese News Coverage of the Future of Afghanistan, Phase III Integrated Report

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Technical Report

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Oklahoma State University Stillwater United States

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The project examined 383 news articles across May-October 2018 from Chinese, Russian, and Iranian news media specifically discussing Afghanistan. All three nations present US influence in Afghanistan as declining, yet reluctant to accept the need to negotiate with the Taliban and accept that continued US presence in the country only prolongs an unalterable status quo of dangerous violence. Media from all three countries make calls for a recognition of the Taliban as a legitimate political authority to be negotiated with, call for a more cooperative international system with non-Western leadership to aid in stabilizing the region through political and economic investment, and for the US to rethink its strategy in Afghanistan and approach to the Taliban. Projections of the future are limited to the near future, not long-term stability. These short-term projections depict a focus by Chinese, Russian, and Iranian media on practical ways to attempt to end the current conflict, with the most common agreement among these media systems being that the future holds an Afghanistan largely controlled by the Taliban with US and Afghani government control reduced to a few high-density urban areas. Iranian media stressed more political and economic interests than that of the other two media systems and offers that the socio-economic stability of regional actors surrounding Afghanistan is an important means to stabilize Afghanistan itself. Regional economic and political security against Western powers is of stated concern in Iranian media. Chinese media offer mentions of regional investments with nations such as Pakistan, India, Russia, the larger Islamic community, and through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization SCO as well as through limited expansion of the Belt and Road Initiatives toward similar trickle-through pathways to Afghanistan stability.

Subject Categories:

  • Information Science
  • Government and Political Science
  • Economics and Cost Analysis

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