PROBLEM-2014 AND CENTRAL ASIAN SECURITY
Konstantin Syroezhkin, D.Sc. (Political Science), Professor, Chief Research Associate, Kazakhstan Institute of Strategic Studies under the President of the RK (Almaty, Kazakhstan)
The author analyzes the outcome of the 12 years of the counterterrorist operation in Afghanistan and the problems it has created. He looks at some of the political aspects related to the 2014 pullout and the main threats and challenges to regional security emanating from Afghanistan.
The external threats to regional security, their potential exacerbation because of the coalition withdrawal, and their potential localization are likewise analyzed.
He also examines the SCO’s possible involvement in settling the Afghan problem and the fields and spheres in which this organization could apply its potential.
Keywords: Afghanistan, narco-transit, regional security, Problem-2014, the SCO.
Today, the question of how the coalition pullout will affect Central Asia figures prominently on the agenda. The forecasts are numerous and mainly pessimistic: most people agree that Central Asia has accumulated too many problems created by radical Islamism and extremism kept under the lid by the U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan and that they will inevitably burst out after the pullout.
Like many of my colleagues, I am not optimistic about the region’s future, however I disagree with them on some points.
First, I am not absolutely convinced that the coalition shielded Central Asia from the Afghan threats more effectively than the Northern Alliance before it. On top of this, the Northern Alliance did not create new threats and never sought destabilization across the entire region.
Second, I do not believe that if the Taliban comes to power in Kabul it will inevitably expand northward. It seems that the Taliban and people in power in Kabul will have too many problems on their hands to look to the north: the pullout will start another stage of the civil war fraught with the country’s partition into ethnic regions.
Seen from Central Asia, this situation is not comfortable, but not threatening if fighters from Afghanistan are prevented from infiltrating into the region. The transportation-logistics and pipeline projects, on the other hand, will be shelved because of the civil war.
Third, there are people who say that the armaments and military equipment the United States plans to leave behind, mainly in Uzbekistan, will change the regional balance of power. Today, Uzbekistan has……………..