Korganbaev assesses possibility of Taliban attacks on Uzbekistan and Tajikistan

The interlocutor of the editorial staff said the “echo” of the insurgents’ coming to power in Afghanistan could also affect Kyrgyzstan.

The official authorities of Afghanistan could not resist the pressure of the Taliban movement (a terrorist organisation banned in the Russian Federation). This group cannot be called a handful of radical militants who “spontaneously seized something”. The terrorist organisation gradually took over all the provinces of Afghanistan over the summer.

Even before they had captured 90% of the country’s territory, the Taliban took control of the border crossings. Certainly, the neighbouring states immediately began preparing for the negative consequences of the assaults by the Taliban. A political expert Mederbek Korganbaev assessed the chances of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to respond to a possible threat from the Taliban. The interlocutor of CentralAsia.news also explained what kind of organisation it was in fact.

American ‘monster’ with Western weapons

It can be said the Taliban have the rich history. In the 1990s, the insurgents managed to take control of Afghanistan. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States and NATO allies came to this country.

Despite the western ‘war machine’, it was not possible to remove the Taliban completely. The insurgents went to the mountains and waged a partisan war. It should be noted that the Taliban had the loyalty of some segments of the local population during the American occupation. They were supplied uninterruptedly with weapons and ammunition from Pakistan and Iran, and some of the weapons were even purchased from the Afghan army through the corrupt military contacts. The Arab states helped financed the Taliban, the expert emphasised.

“All of this fed and maintained the Taliban’s combat capabilities. From a geopolitical point of view, the Taliban were and will be needed by the opponents of the United States. This is a classic world game: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The Taliban are not just terrorists, they are a real military-political regional force capable of influencing entire states,” the expert commented.

Korganbaev recalled that Washington had needed the Taliban once. The Americans contributed to the creation of this organisation to do more harm the USSR in Afghanistan. Therefore, the Taliban can be called an American project.

The expert emphasised that the Taliban movement had numbered about 70,000 militants as of 2021 – it outnumbers the armed forces of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. In addition, the Taliban are now not a gang of militants with old machine guns and ‘half-dead’ equipment.

“Today they have trophies in their arsenal – the Western models of small arms and military equipment of NATO. The Americans left a huge number of lethal and non-lethal weapons of war in Afghanistan, which, as we can see, were captured by the Taliban practically without a fight. Not surprising if tomorrow we will see the Taliban members in American Hummers with M4 rifles and NATO’s equipment in the world news. The Taliban are likely to use the captured American weapons against America’s allies under the collective security agreements,” the political scientist said.

Uzbekistan’s combat efficiency and assistance to Tajikistan

“The army and power bloc of Uzbekistan were the most combat-ready in Central Asia, Mederbek Korganbaev emphasised. Since the presidency of Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan has been taking purposeful and consistent measures to strength the armed forces and the border. Official Tashkent is able to defend independently its borders in the event of the entries of insurgents into its territory,” the expert said.

“The Uzbek army numbers about 50,000 soldiers and officers, and more than 5 million citizens are fit for military service. Tajikistan’s military strength was much weaker than that of Uzbekistan, and the security of its border with Afghanistan, social and political stability directly depended on Russia’s military assistance, the expert said.

The interlocutor recalled that in recent years Moscow had been actively strengthening the Tajik armed forces through gratuitous supplies of armoured vehicles and weapons, and training of military servicemen. Thanks to Russia, the Republic has created the army that can not only defend itself, but also attack, the political scientist believes.

Scenarios

Korganbaev noted that Uzbekistan and Tajikistan did not want the situation in Afghanistan to worsen, which would be an impetus for the influx of refugees. Even if Tashkent and Dushanbe accept them, it will be a short-term phenomenon. He admitted that Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the future might transport refugees to other countries that were ready to accept them, or return them back to Afghanistan.

The interlocutor considers it unlikely that the Taliban will attack Uzbekistan and Tajikistan now. The leadership of the movement clearly understands that this requires substantial resources, a well-prepared base. First, the militants will need to solve internal political problems. Moreover, some of the field commanders in Afghanistan are not happy with the ‘accession’ of the Taliban.

“The global and regional players are ready to support the military opposition to the Taliban. The Taliban, at least in 2022-2023, will be preoccupied with internal wars, and campaigns in Central Asia are unlikely to happen, but disturbing attacks and sabotage by insurgents in the border areas with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are not excluded. Attempts of small terrorist groups to break through Kyrgyzstan are also possible,” the expert assumed.

He noted that Russia, as the main military and political player, was interested in strengthening the frontiers of collective security. Most likely, Tajikistan will soon receive new consignments of weapons from the Russian Federation, up to drones and combat helicopters as military-technical support. According to the expert, Moscow intends to stake on Tajikistan, which it sees as a reliable ally.

17 авг 2021, 07:50

Photo source: reuters.com

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