Taliban factor for Central Asia. How to live after the American escape

Washington’s Afghan campaign has failed. Terrorists are invariably outraged. Moreover, they got a taste of victory against the backdrop of a reduction in the US military contingent. However, if the Americans can retreat to another continent, the countries neighboring Afghanistan do not have this opportunity. What should Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan do?

According to the Pentagon, the number of American troops in Afghanistan has already dropped to 8.6 thousand people as part of the first phase of the withdrawal. As you know, the corresponding agreement was signed in February between Washington and the Taliban terrorist group.

The deal states that the United States and its allies will withdraw their forces from Afghan territory within 14 months. And although the Pentagon assures that the situation is under control, the facts suggest otherwise. Most recently, a wave of terrorist attacks swept across Afghanistan: an explosion at the National Directorate of Security in Aybak and raids on government forces in the provinces of Kunduz, Nangarhar and Badakhshan. The Taliban are behind the attacks, and militant activity continues to grow, despite the “peace” agreement with the United States.

“The United States and its allies are leaving the country with little or no guarantees from the Taliban, according to an agreement that the Americans signed with the rebels in late February. This is an admission of a serious defeat for the West”, – wrote the German journalist Sabina Matti, commenting on the deal.

The military operation, which began in the distant 2001, was aimed at eradicating the Islamist terror in Afghanistan, but now those against whom the US fought have become their partners. Moreover, extremists control most of the country.

“In reality, there is no difference when we leave, because everything will fall apart there anyway. At least, it will be a positive moment that we will stop sponsoring corruption, sponsoring Afghanistan – the world’s heroin machine, which it has become in our time”, – said retired US Army Colonel Douglas McGregor.

The total volume of drug trafficking here is estimated at about $30 billion a year. It produces 90% of the world’s opium. According to the UN, about 7 thousand tons of opium and heroin are exported from Afghanistan to other countries every year.

It is noteworthy that Washington is trying to neatly shift all these problems onto the shoulders of the Central Asian countries. This is stated in the US five-year Central Asian strategy. These ideas were promoted by the US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and the head of the US International Development Funding Corporation Adam Boiler when they came to Tashkent.

“The aim of this activity is to shift the attention of the five post-Soviet Central Asian countries to Afghanistan, thus reducing their relations with Russia”, – said Azhdar Kurtov, editor-in-chief of the journal Problems of National Strategy.

The reality is that only the strengthening of relations with Russia can secure the countries of the region. The Soufan Group, a security and intelligence consulting company, reports that about 4,000 people from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan are involved in the activities of terrorist groups in the Middle East. In June and July, Uzbek security forces neutralized 3 terrorist cells in Tashkent at once.

Such tendencies already indicate an escalation of tension, and in the face of American surrender to the militants, the intensification of work within the CSTO can help. The organization still provides security in the region. 22 thousand soldiers of special forces are based here. The 201st Russian military base is also located in Tajikistan, where repelling attacks by Islamists are regularly practiced.

For years, the CSTO has focused special attention on suppressing the terrorist threat from the Afghan direction. The organization worked to coordinate the interstate response to the activity of militants, conducted numerous exercises, including those on the protection of important facilities from mined vehicles. In the context of the Taliban triumph, all this becomes especially relevant.

Evgeniy Gaman, specially for News Front

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