Officials of Tajikistan and Russia constantly warn about the threat of instability from Afghanistan, but experts do not agree on these threats.
Alexander Bortnikov, head of the Federal Security Service of Russia (FSB), during the meeting of the Council of Heads of Security Institutions and Special Services of the CIS countries, warned of the creation of a “belt of instability” on the southern borders of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) as a result of the attraction of new armed groups and the transfer of terrorist groups from Middle East and Afghanistan reported. This meeting was held on October 11 in Baku.
According to this Russian security official, seizing power in Central Asia is the priority of these groups, and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, which international terrorist groups want to include in the “Global Caliphate”, are in danger.
Bortnikov emphasized that the number of “Al-Qaeda” soldiers in Afghanistan is 1.5 thousand people, and the extremist group “Khorasan Province” reaches 6.5 thousand people, and they have their programs to unite different groups and expand them to neighboring countries. , in the first step, Central Asia and Russia, do not hide. This top Russian intelligence agency accused the US and British intelligence agencies of being involved in the preparation of extremists.
“In this respect, we believe that it is the USA and NATO that are actively imposing their services on our partners in Central Asia on a military-technical basis under the pretext of curbing terrorist threats from Afghanistan,” Bortnikov said.
Andrey Serenko, an expert on Afghanistan issues, says that the statement of the head of the Russian Security Service reflects the reality of the day. “The situation is really complicated, even if you look at other sources. For example, the budget of the Taliban, the rapid development of their military structure, etc. Now 40 percent of their budget is devoted to military needs, 19 thousand madrasahs have been opened, where young people are trained. However, in Afghanistan there are not enough mosques and jobs for this number of young people. Where will the graduates of these madrasas work? It is clear that this is a resource for war,” says Serenko.
According to him, if the number of Taliban military forces is currently 400,000 people, taking into account the graduates of Madaris, this number will reach a million people without counting other jihadist groups.
Kasim Bekmuhammad, a Tajik orientalist and journalist, said in an interview with “Asia Plus” that there are security threats from Afghanistan for Central Asia, but it is unlikely that such groups will succeed in seizing power in the countries of the region.
“Of course, in the event of an attack by terrorists from Afghanistan to the region, not only the Russian military bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan will be used quickly, but also the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) will come to the aid, and also military and technical support will arrive from friendly countries.” Bekmuhammadov believes. “However, it will not come to this,” he says, “because the situation in Afghanistan does not allow the Taliban to agree with such a situation, even if it is imposed on them. This is very dangerous and could be the beginning of a downward spiral for the Taliban themselves.”
The progress or influence of militants from Afghanistan has not only been the topic of conversation between security services and experts of Russia in all the post-Soviet years, but Emomali Rahmon, the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, has been constantly discussing this topic from high world platforms and calls for the creation of a security belt around Afghanistan.
The purpose of the “security belt”, which is being put in place by the authorities of Tajikistan, is to include in the single list of organizations that have been declared terrorist in the CIS and CIS countries, and to attract the help of the international community to strengthen the border of Tajikistan and Afghanistan, including the provision of various types of weapons. and military and technical equipment.
During the period of independence, Tajikistan received military-technical assistance not only from Russia and China, but also from the USA and the European Union to strengthen its southern borders. Khairiddin Usmonzoda, the head of the Center for Strategic Studies of Tajikistan, said at a press conference in August that the number of military units on the border with Afghanistan has reached 100, and most of them were built with the funds of Western countries.
The threat depends on the conditions
In April and August 2023, the State Committee for National Security of Tajikistan announced the arrest and disarmament of several members of the “Ansarullah” group on the border with Afghanistan. Such special operations are sometimes received with skepticism in society and social networks. A political commentator from Tajikistan emphasizes that the intelligence agencies of Tajikistan highlight such threats depending on the situation. “Now the topic of “threat from the south” is being raised too much. We witnessed that the Taliban managed to seize power in Afghanistan in the last two years, and there is no such force there that can be a threat to Central Asia. Even if armed attacks to the countries of the region, it will be in the framework of some secret plans of the Taliban themselves, who are also actively using the theme of “threat from the south” for their goals. However, the countries of the region should not be careless. They should prepare themselves for the worst situation. and strengthen their defense capabilities. Do not rely on Russia and other great powers. The time has come to create some kind of regional defense structure,” says this expert.
Source : Радио Озоди