As time comes for American forces to leave Afghanistan in the end of 2014, Central A sia perspectives are more and more dim and scaring. It is known that USA plans to take some of military equipment used there into the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. American military leaders are already discussing the question with Tajikistan, Kirgizia and Uzbekistan.
Also the joint military maneuvers “Regional collaboration - 2012” of the USA and all mentioned countries and Kazakhstan, which took place on June, 18 in Kirgizia, clearly show American plans to get into these territories. The maneuvers were held on the site of the Joint military forces training center according to the plan of bilateral military contacts between army of Kirgizia and US Central Command. The main goal was to work out joint actions in case of natural disasters and «in case of destruction forces activity». As information by Defense Ministry of Kirgizia says, USA trains their partners to prepare and conduct virtual training courses and to work with electronic cards. American army will leave Afghanistan step by step. Last year ten thousand soldiers left the country. Another 23 thousand were to leave by autumn. USA Defense Minister Leon Panetta announced that America wanted to finish its war mission in Afghanistan by middle or end of 2013 to concentrate on training Afghan military forces and providing consulting assistance.
After the main part of the army will leave the country, several large military bases will stay in Begram, Sindand, Nangarhar province, in Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sarif, which will let Americans help local army. USA plans to spend about 4 billion dollars annually after 2014 for Afghan army support. Locals don’t believe these promises. Recently Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai demanded from the USA to fix the financial aid amount in a contract, fearing that these words will be just a doubletalk. American military forces show significant interest in keeping their airbase in Kirgizia, trying to mask it as a “civil transit center”.
Earlier USA announced their plans to place mobile units of special forces in all countries of the region, for protection of the northern way, and to build training centers, checkpoints and other military objects. Such plans mean that this military infrastructure is designed for total control of the area. Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs already expressed fears that USA military base in Kirgizia may be used in war against Iran and thus the countries of Central Asia will be involved in this war. Ability of Americans to deter Talibans after military disengagement is a big question. Even the first steps of troop pullout in Afghanistan provoked anxiety in the Central Asia capitals. When Vladimir Putin came to Tashkent on June, 4 they discussed the topic with Islam Karimov as nearly the most important one. The both presidents understand that terroristic activity will go behind the borders after military pullout. Moscow is also worried about possibility of turning Central Asia into another Afghanistan.
In April secretary general of CSTO Nicolay Borduja was talking about the matter with anxiety. He named such threats as wakeup of radical religious and nationalist structures activity, which successfully use existing religious, social and ethnical contradictions in the region. In December CSTO signed a plan of defense measures to confront challenges and threats coming from Afghanistan. The plan is aimed at drug traffic stoppage and means creation of financial and anti-drug belts, people training and collaboration with afghan anti-drug structures. But in case if situation in the country goes beyond control there will be nobody to collaborate with. «Russia doesn’t have any strategy, – Director of the second Asian department of Foreign Affairs Ministry Zamir Kabulov said on May, 24 on the press-conference in RIA-Novosti. – If everything turns really bad – the civil war on the ethnic ground will start... then we will react».
Absence of strategy is the most disturbing fact. Russia and Central Asia don’t have any natural or man-made borders. Russian border guards left the border of Tajikistan and Afghanistan in 2005, and all attempts to make them come back failed so far. Only Uzbekistan can defend its borders on its own, among the three countries on the border with Afghanistan. Kirgizia and Tajikistan are extremely week as military countries. And it’s very difficult to guard the longest border in the world – between Russia and Kazakhstan, which is more than 7 thousand kilometers. There is a Collective Security Treaty Organization, of course, among its members are four from five countries of Central Asia. Its structure includes Collective forces for immediate reaction, mostly from Russian and Kazakhstan troopers. In case of necessity of immediate Russia return to Central Asia Russian forces will have to defend southern borders of Kazakhstan, Kirgizia and Tajikistan, and CSTO will have to undertake some functions which USA and NATO used to fulfill.