The US and NATO began their withdrawal from Afghanistan on 1 May, with the security situation in the country little better now than it was after the 2001 invasion. US President Joe Biden, in his announcement of the withdrawal in April, called on Russia, China and India to step up and “support Afghanistan” after the US leaves.
The United States would “prefer” to redeploy troops and equipment coming out of Afghanistan into Uzbekistan or Tajikistan, two of the three former Soviet republics bordering the war-torn country to its north, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing government and military officials familiar with the situation.
The newspaper’s sources admit, however, that Russia’s military presence in the region and China’s growing influence “complicate plans” for any US deployments in Central Asia.
Tajikistan is a full-fledged member of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization alliance, and Uzbekistan, which suspended its membership in the alliance in 2012, nonetheless continues to maintain strong economic and security ties with Moscow, including observer status in the Eurasian Economic Union, and membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
US special representative for Afghanistan Zalamay Khalilzad visited both Tajikistan and Uzbekistan this past week, and is said to have discussed the need to prevent violence from getting out of hand in Afghanistan before America and its allies complete their withdrawal by its 11 September…