Is Climate Change Heating up Central Asia’s Border Disputes?

Clues from Satellite Imagery

While this isn’t a “traditional” Line of Actual Control post, I’m nonetheless extremely excited to share my second piece for Bellingcat, which you can find here, in lieu of a Substack post this week1. It’s also the second installment in my environmental mini-series (part one here), this time focusing on how climate change has contributed to a border clash earlier this year between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. If you like niche stories, environmental stories, or satellite imagery, give it a read!

I’m going to keep any extra thoughts and analysis on the subject to a minimum so I can let the article speak for itself, but I do just want to highlight these two really interesting satellite images of the Tortkul Reservoir, a man-made lake at the heart of the conflict. The images - taken two years apart in July 2018 and July 2020 - are a stark reminder of how quickly our environment can take a turn for the worse, thereby leading to all sorts of literal and figurative downstream effects (in this case, far less water available for agriculture).

Anyway, check out the piece here if you’d like to read on and, as always, feel free to tell your friends, family, and colleagues about Line of Actual Control or send me any feedback you have. ✌️



My first Bellingcat piece, on the US narcoplanes crashing in Venezuela, can be found here.