Post-Soviet states help NATO crawl closer to Russia

NATO agreed with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan on the use of land routes passing through their territory for the export of machinery and military equipment from Afghanistan. In the second half of 2012, tens of thousands of military combat equipment will march through the territory of the former Soviet Central Asia, and ... go to Russia?

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen reported on the agreements reached. The current number of the international coalition in Afghanistan is 130 thousand people. It is clear that they will withdraw in stages, but the movement of even a couple of thousands of trained and armed foreign troops on the territory of a country should cause a normal government a great deal of concerns.

There will be no complete withdrawal from Afghanistan. A few days ago, Russian President Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said that Moscow did not see anything dangerous in the strategic agreement between Washington and Kabul on the presence of the U.S. forces on Afghan territory after 2014.

It is important to note an explicit order for the relocation via the Central Asian land routes. Last November, Pakistan, the eternal ally of Britain and the United States in the region, has demanded to stop the transit through its territory. The reason was an "erroneous" U.S. airstrike that killed 24 Pakistani border guards.

At the same time there are options of airlifting the troops using an air bridge between the former Soviet airbase at Bagram with a Turkish NATO base Indzherlik. The airports of the American satellites in the Middle East - Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, are also located in the area. However, the timely "blockade" of the transit by Pakistan has closed the logistics in that direction.

Thus, NATO is now able to travel with its armed formations on the territory of Central Asia - a region immediately adjacent to the Caspian Sea. Naturally, this will cause anxiety of Iran, which will be surrounded by American troops from all sides, and is unlikely to cause optimism in China.

Although in December of 2011 the CSTO leaders have agreed not to deploy military bases of third-countries on their territory, clever wordings help to ignore the fact of the presence of foreign armed forces on its territory.

Sequential steps by Washington will be strengthening of its positions in the Central Asian region. Naturally, the states rely not only on the "transit", but also bonuses, including those in the form of weapons and special forces.

"All Central Asian countries are preparing for 2014. And everyone wants to use this opportunity, mainly for additional financial assistance from NATO countries,"   leader of the Islamic Renaissance Party Kabiri told "NG".

In particular, Tajikistan would like to receive military equipment for the border and technology for military operations in the mountains. Kyrgyzstan is hoping for drones. In addition, the Central Asian countries will have drugs export accompanied by Islamic extremism on its territory.

This type of activity is the brand name and dynastic "profession" for the Afghan Mujahideen, and chaos in Central Asia will allow NATO to settle there permanently. Mysterious events in the dead Kazakh frontier are the grim backdrop of the reached transit agreements.

Under the refrain of the fight against drugs, the U.S., during whose operations in Afghanistan the export of heavy drugs in the country has increased 44 times, is building a loyal force apparatus in Central Asia, said Georgy Borodin, an expert of the Institute for Foreign Policy Studies and Initiatives.

One of the mechanisms of this process is the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre for Combating Drugs (CARICC).

Today it has seven members: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Russia. The Center creation was funded by NATO member countries: USA, UK, Italy, Turkey, France, Czech Republic, as well as Finland and Luxembourg. These same states plus Afghanistan and Pakistan have observer status at CARICC, while China and Iran are not on the lists.

"Countries with observer status use the access to the entire volume of information collected and analyzed by the Centre," said the expert. U.S. actions in Central Asia largely repeat their policy in Central and South America: it concerns the integration process, the "fight against drugs," and the counterinsurgency war.

Meanwhile, as it became known in March, Moscow is in talks with NATO on the establishment of a commercial Transit Alliance in Ulyanovsk. The willingness of Central Asian states, including Kazakhstan that is a member of the Customs Union, to provide its infrastructure for the needs of NATO in this context it is not surprising.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, in the case of the Ulyanovsk base, we are talking about a "multimodal transit of non-lethal cargo for the purposes of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan." He said that the goods will be reloaded from trains to planes and continue their way to Afghanistan. "The annual turnover of the carriers is estimated at one billion dollars.

"Volga-Dnepr" company will be used to solve logistical problems. However, it would be too narrow of an approach to limit the essence of this company only to commerce. The main question now is whether or not this base will be involved in the movement of NATO troops and weapons.

Anatoly Miranovsky

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov