Kudriats assesses risk of Taliban activity for Uzbekistan and Tajikistan

The expert emphasised that the entries of insurgents into Central Asia were quite real.

The Taliban movement (a terrorist organisation banned in the Russian Federation) has expanded its activities in Afghanistan in recent weeks. The U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan gave the Taliban an impetus to advance. The Afghan provinces are gradually being taken under control. The situation has deteriorated to such an extent that 300 border guards fled to Tajikistan.

Certainly, such activity of the hostile group aroused concern in neighbouring Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The ‘hot’ border, the flows of refugees, surreptitious entries of insurgents – all this does not fit into the efforts of Dushanbe and Tashkent to develop their economies and integrate into international processes. CentralAsia.news discussed the situation in Central Asia with an independent expert Yevgeny Kudryats.

US’s ‘weakness’ gives confidence

The material would be incomplete without a brief assessment of the current Taliban. When speaking about the political aspect, the interlocutor stated that the terrorist organisation had gained in power again. According to the Taliban, the future of Afghanistan will be impossible without their participation. Kudriats did not rule out that members of the movement could join the coalition government.

The withdrawal of US forces has facilitated the rise of the terrorist organisation. It is not even about the physical aspect. After all, ideology, some ideas and dogmas are very strong in Afghan society. The expert believes that the Taliban considered the withdrawal to be a manifestation of Washington’s weakness, and therefore ‘raised their heads’.

The interlocutor also drew attention to a small nuance. The movement comprises not only wanted terrorists, but also people who are capable of having a dialogue. For example, the authorities of Russia met with a Taliban delegation. All of this bears witness to the confidence that Kabul will have to reckon with this movement.

It is logical that any organisation of this scale, even a terrorist one, needs substantial amount of money. Some $50 million a year is not enough. Yevgeny Kudryats stated that there was no exact data on the Taliban’s budget. To identify all the sponsors is not an easy task. However, there is a source of dollar inflow that has never been a secret.

“According to the BBC, the annual income of this organisation can reach $ 1.5 billion. Therefore, the logical question arises: where does such a fabulous amount come from? The answer is simple: the lion’s share of the Taliban’s income comes from illicit drug trade. The Taliban control many areas of opium poppy farming. According to Americans, drugs account for 60% of the Taliban’s total income. An additional source of revenue is the mines and nature resources of Afghanistan,” the expert noted.

Despite the activity, there is no exact data on the number of Taliban members. According to rough estimates, there may be 70,000-100,000 of them. While the number of the Afghan army numbers 200,000 soldiers.

Kamilov’s statement and Tajikistan’s assessment

The Taliban, who had gained in power, might pose a threat to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, the expert noted. He also drew attention to the unusual statement made by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov. According to the interlocutor, the Minister said he did not consider the Taliban a terrorist organisation. Given the movement’s reputation, his statement surprised many people in Uzbekistan. The expert does not exclude that the Ministry could have signalled the possibility of negotiating with this terrorist organisation.

Dushanbe is monitoring the situation in the neighbouring state

“In Tajikistan, the intensified activity of the Taliban on the border is raising concern, although not everyone shares the point of view about the might and strength of this organisation. In any case, both Tajikistan and Uzbekistan must remain vigilant. An incursion of the Taliban on their borders is quite real. Strengthening border security is one of their priority tasks, and time will show how ready the countries are for such a scenario with the incursions of the Taliban,” the expert said.

Kudriats noted that there were several scenarios for further events in Central Asia. The possibility exists that the Taliban could bring problems to Kyrgyzstan. Certainly, Russia does not ignore the Taliban activity. Moscow is in contact with the movement through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The interlocutor hopes that the withdrawal of US forces will not push the Russian Federation to the mistake of 1979. He believes that using the ‘diplomatic arsenal’ with the Taliban is much wise.

12 авг 2021, 10:38

Yevgeny Kudryats

Abdulaziz Kamilov

Photo source: 1tv.ru

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