The Taliban and Border Issues in Central Asia


By Scott Morgan

Once again you can tell that it is springtime in Afghanistan. There is a new Taliban Offensive. This time the action is in the Northern Part of the Country.  This should raise Security Issues in the Central Asian Republics of the former Soviet Union.

Tajikistan

Just a couple of weeks ago an item appeared on Reuters highlighting just how poorly the Border Defenses of Tajikistan are. The Tajik Army is in poor shape. The Equipment for the most part predates the Collapse of the Soviet Union. It makes one wonder how much of the equipment was left over from the Soviet Era (ending in 1989) in Afghanistan. Reports of the Border Security are so dire that, in October 2015, it was suggested that Russia could take over Tajik Border Security.

In March of this year, there were several reports that should have raised the concern of Security Analysts not only in the region but also in Washington and Moscow. Last fall, there were reports of fighting along the border with Helmand Province. These reports indicated that a large number of Tajik Soldiers had actually defected to the Taliban after an incident. This does not bode well either for Tajikistan or Afghanistan.

Uzbekistan & Kyrgyzstan

But what about Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan? That is a fair question. In Uzbekistan, the Taliban have split into different factions. As a result of the October 2015 Taliban Offensive, Kyrgyzstan deployed Army Units to the Afghan Border to defend themselves in case of the fighting spilled over across their border.

Is the relationship between these nations and the United States a factor in maintaining their readiness? The US did have bases in these two Republics after the 2001 US Invasion. However, in 2015, the Russian Federation set up their own Military Base in Kyrgzstan to offset any Potential US Influence. Moreover, the situation along the Uzbek-Kyrgz Common Border should also be a matter of concern.

In late March, tensions between these two states became acute and forces were deployed to the border in a dispute over water. You can almost hear the talking heads on the International News Channels talking about this being a potential proxy war between the United States and Russia. But there are different sources for these tensions.  The Uzbeks feel that Kyrgyzstan with two Revolutions in its History is a source of Instability. Kyrgyzstan feels that Tashkent has Ambitions of Power that makes it a regional threat.

Another Key Source of tensions is the Situation in the Southern Part of Kyrgyzstan. There is an Uzbek Presence in this part of the Country. Therefore, Tashkent has well founded fears that any fight erupting here could spill across the Border. Nevertheless, it has been reported that tensions have been reduced to some degree to the point of a troop withdrawal, which is indeed a positive step.

Finally, one of the locations where some of these vile actions were born is Pakistan; which, in recent weeks, caused tensions to rise when it constructed a 2 km Border Fence at a checkpoint, to deter Foreign Fighters from entering the Country.

United States vs Russia

This is an Election Year in the United States. One issue that could determine who votes is the contentious issue of Border Security/Immigration. Now, the US Border does not have these issues at a first glance. Nevertheless, the issues here will impact US Relations with Russia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan. Some of these issues will be felt by the Pentagon as it tries to conduct Operations in the Region, in support of Friendly Forces.

Another Fear is the chance of a Proxy War between Washington and Moscow - a valid concern that the next US President may have to address. In Diplomacy, as long as there is talking instead of shooting, everything is seen in a positive light. However, there is a risk of things going wrong and a War Erupting or Escalating. If this occurs it benefits no one.


(Image: The Taliban - Google Images)

[The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dissecting Society]

Comments

  1. Pakistan created the monster and now builds a fence to stop fighters from crossing into her borders, nice.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Morgan,

    The Hibernation period is over in Afghanistan, eh? So what do the Taliban want: who is using them to destabilise the involved countries?

    What if Russia is using the Taliban to get at the US? It is possible, though very ironic when once upon a time the US used the Taliban against the Soviets. Oh the turns and twists of politics...

    Great piece, Morgan.

    Cheers

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  3. The influence of the Taliban in these Regions is not new. They have been there even before the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and their influence grew under the Mujahideen fighters, especially Commander Massoud. We need to understand that the Taliban are a very unique fighting force and they encompass a very rich heritage of Resistance to foreign armies on their soil. We cannot discount them nor ignore them as we have learnt how resilient and resourceful they are in Aghanistan and Pakistan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "We cannot discount them nor ignore them as we have learnt how resilient and resourceful they are in Afghanistan and Pakistan"

      Agreed.

      Delete

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