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The member-countries of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) are getting ready for a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. The situation in that country became high on the agenda of informal meetings in Bishkek on Monday between the foreign ministers, defence ministers and the secretaries of the Security Councils of the military and political bloc that Moscow is supervising on the post-Soviet space, which along with Russia includes Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Their forecast for the period after 2014 is negative, the Kommersant daily reported.
“The closer we are getting to 2014 and the withdrawal of the international coalition forces from Afghanistan, the larger place the situation in that country takes on the international agenda,” Russian Permanent Representative in the CSTO Lyakin-Frolov told the newspaper before the Monday negotiations. “It is hard to say what will happen in the future. The tensions may grow and the threats coming from Afghanistan may worsen and spread on the neighbouring regions, including the CSTO states,” he noted.
The Kommersant interviewee acknowledged that the CSTO experts have developed different scenarios of the development of the situation in Afghanistan for the period after the withdrawal of a larger part of NATO and U.S. contingents from the country. Meanwhile, CSTO Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha said last week that the most realistic forecast is negative.
Russian presidential special envoy for Afghanistan, head of the second department of Asia in the Russian Foreign Ministry Zamir Kabulov also agreed with this view. “If the task of a higher combat capability of Afghan national security forces is not resolved, and the current situation does not evoke optimism, the growth of the influence of the extremists is quite probable that is fraught with different disturbances up to a civil war and a split of the country according to ethnical identity,” he said in an interview with the newspaper recently.
The ministers and the secretaries of the Security Councils discussed in Bishkek the key threats, which the neighbours of Afghanistan (only Tajikistan has over 1,300 kilometres of common border with Afghanistan) face already today: nonstop drug trafficking, the danger of invasion of armed gangs, which passed the training in the camps and training centres in Afghanistan, the spreading of radical religious ideas and the support for local fundamentalists in the Central Asian countries and arms smuggling. After 2014 all these problems may worsen.
Meanwhile, a source in the Russian delegation pledged that “there will be no physical presence of the servicemen from the CSTO states in Afghanistan in this case.”