What is Going to Happen to Middle Asia?

What is Going to Happen to Middle Asia?

By Piotr Woźniak

Each day gets us closer to the date of withdrawal of the main part of American troops and all NATO units from Afghanistan, planned on the end of 2014, and it becomes clear, that the prospects of Middle Asia look more indefinite. As it has already been known, a part of military equipment the USA plans to give the former soviet republics of the region.

Representatives of American army already held talks on this issue with Tajikistan, Kirgizia and Uzbekistan. The plans of Americans to obtain base area in Middle Asia partially was realized on June 18th in course of joint military trainings “Regional Cooperation – 2012” in Kirgizia, with participation also of soldiers from Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. Trainings were held under the joint command of Kirgiz-American Center for military personnel training. According to Kirgiz Defense Department, American partners teach them methods of preparation and holding of trainings on contemporary techniques of warfare, as well as work with e-maps.

Withdrawal of American troops shall be performed in several stages. The US Defense Minister Leon Panetta declared that the USA want to finish the military mission in Afghanistan by the middle or end of 2013 to focus efforts on training of Afghan army and financial aid of 4 billion USD. Afghanistan doesn’t believe these promises. Recently the President Hamid Karzai demanded from Americans to specify definite amount of financial aid in a compound written treaty.

Washington announced also its plan to locate in all the states of the region mobile special forces, whose task shall include defense of borders from drug and terrorist flow. This idea met objections of Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which observes it as the way to involve the countries of Middle Asia into a hypothetic war with Iran.

The truth, however, is as that the prospects of restraining of Taliban within Afghan borders after the withdrawal of the main part of the troops incites big doubts even in the light of above mentioned project. And these doubts lead, in their turn, to the worries in the capitals of the states of the region. In course of his visit to Tashkent on June 4th at the negotiations with Karimov Vladimir Putin also touched upon this subject. In their joint statement the Presidents expressed their concern about that together with the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan terrorist attacks can spread out of the country’s borders.

In April the Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization Nikolay Bordyuzha draw his attention to this issue. Among the threats he names first of all intensification of religious and nationalistic radical forces, as well as ethic grounded troubles.

Only Uzbekistan on its own can defend its borders among the three states bordering Afghanistan. Kirgizia and Tajikistan are too weak. Although the most painful aspect the Kremlin notes is protection of the most long land frontier (more than 7000 km) – between Russia and Kazakhstan.

Summing up: in connection to the prospects of 2014 Moscow observes the possibility with the mean of the OSCE to return again influence within Middle Asia. Four of five states of the region are the CSTO members. This body has founded rapid reaction forces, consisting mainly from Russian-Kazakh air assault brigades. In case of necessity they shall be provided with logistic support within the territory of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and partially Kirgizia.
Translated by EuroDialogueXXI from inosmi.ru







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