The administration of US President Joe Biden has recently shown its intention to redeploy forces to Afghanistan’s Central Asian neighbors to deal with potential attacks by the Taliban and terrorist groups in the region.
A decision that Russia considers unacceptable because it not only increases the risk of creating a security vacuum in Afghanistan, but can also plunge the entire Central Asian region into a spiral of instability.
Russian officials have repeatedly warned in recent days against the United States’ intention to deploy troops to the former Soviet Central Asian countries following its withdrawal from Afghanistan. According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, such a measure would not help regional security and no country would want to become hostage to such a policy:
“I don’t think the emergence of new US military targets in Central Asia is in the interests of regional security. And the most important question for Americans is, what if over the next 20 years? in the past they have accomplished nothing in Afghanistan, even though there are times when the number of deployed troops exceeds 100,000, what is the result they want to achieve by maintaining a smaller presence? much outside of it? ‘Afghanistan,’ Sergey Lavrov said.
Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan both have Russian military bases, while the US military base located in Kyrgyzstan to support operations in Afghanistan has been closed since 2014. In Uzbekistan, the country’s Defense Ministry reiterated on May 5. that the country’s constitution and military doctrine excluded the military presence of any foreign force on the territory.
However, some sources have said that the United States is encouraging negotiations with the Central Asian countries so that they can redeploy their forces as soon as they withdraw from Afghanistan. This could not only allay concerns about the security gaps left by the rapid withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, but also help the US maintain its influence in a strategic region of the world.
Russia and many countries in the region have expressed concern that such a measure will increase the risk of Islamist extremists infiltrating Central Asia, posing a threat of jihad, or even fueling civil war in a neighboring country. Russia. The point is that since the United States and its allies accelerated their withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Taliban have tried to gain more territory and last weekend claimed to have captured 85% of Afghan territory. The escalation of the conflict has prompted hundreds of Afghan security personnel and refugees to cross the border into neighboring Tajikistan.
Currently, Central Asian countries have yet to provide a response, but analysts say the decision to leave the old for the new is not easy, as Central Asian countries still have difficult ties. to break with Russia. Almost 30 years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia still maintains a significant military footprint in Central Asia as it remains the region’s largest arms supplier and has thousands of troops stationed in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and in Tajikistan. These three countries are also members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CTSC), a Russian-led military alliance with a number of countries in the region to maintain and ensure a unified defensive space against any threat to the peace.