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Changing Conjuncture in Afghanistan and Central Asia

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One of the most basic needs of people is to feel safe. In this sense, border security draws attention as an important issue. Insecurity at the border can create regional effects in terms of economic, cultural, political, social and military aspects. For this reason, stability at the borders of the country is very important for all people living in the relevant country and especially for individuals residing in border cities.

The recent events in Afghanistan and the increasing instability in this context bring about a situation of insecurity. These developments directly or indirectly affect the neighbors of the aforementioned country. Therefore, the developments experienced are also worrying for the Central Asian republics.

Afghanistan borders three of the five Central Asian countries (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan). Moreover, the states of the region have deep-rooted historical, cultural, ethnic and linguistic ties with Afghanistan. The situation of ethnic groups such as Uzbeks, Tajiks and Turkmens makes important Afghanistan’s relations with these states.

The fact that Central Asia is adjacent to Afghanistan causes the aforementioned countries to be affected by the events in Afghanistan. Although Central Asian countries have been far from armed conflict and civil war for the past two decades, Afghanistan under the control of the Taliban could lead to some changes in the security environment in the region. Inasmuch as, the rise of radicalization in Afghanistan also spreads to Islamic movements in the region.

The biggest cause for concern in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan is the terrorist organization DAESH which operating in Afghanistan and its own citizens who are in the ranks of extremist groups. It is also claimed that the Taliban gave responsibility for the northern borders of Afghanistan to Jamaat-i Ansarullah, which the Dushanbe administration recognize as a terrorist organization. This group is also known as the Tajik Taliban.

Tajikistan border officials also said that they had received information that fighters led by Mohammad Sharifov were deployed in the border areas and confirmed that there were at least 200 Tajik citizens within the Taliban.[1] In addition, the immigration problem and the drug trade from Central Asia to Russia and other European countries are among the factors that increase security concerns.

For all these reasons, a meeting was held in Doha, the capital of Qatar, with the participation of Taliban representatives from Russia, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. These meetings clearly reveal the impact of the war on the Central Asian countries.

In this context, a joint drill between Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan was held at the ‘Harb Square’ training ground in the Hatlon Province of Tajikistan. After this drill, the Minister of Defense of Tajikistan, Sir Ali Mirza, said, “Any event that takes place in Afghanistan, not only the region; adversely affects the whole of Eurasia”[2] he said.

Also, Russia has strengthened its 201st military base in Tajikistan with new weapons and armored vehicles.[3] According to RIA Novosti; In addition to military vehicles, tanks, personnel carriers and even helicopters, a significant number of cornet anti-tank missiles were also delivered to this base.[4] Moreover, Tajikistan has deployed 20,000 troops to its south border Afghanistan due to the growing insecurity and the Taliban’s advance in Afghanistan’s northern and northeastern provinces.

On the issue of asylum seekers, Russian President Vladimir Putin cited the developments in the 1990s and 2000s as an example. He said that he did not want the terrorists to enter Russia under the guise of asylum seekers and stated that the problem was directly related to the security of his country.[5]

As a result, with the Taliban’s control of Kabul, the security concerns of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries increased. Because there are radical groups in these countries, although it is prohibited. Regional chaos can cause to activate of these groups and their sleeper cells. The drug trade can also create a distrust. Moreover, the instability in the country in question may force the Central Asian states to face a asylum seeker crisis. Moreover, the terrorist elements that will infiltrate among the asylum seekers may cause various weaknesses in terms of national security for the states of the region.


[1] “گزارش: طالبان در امتداد مرز افغانستان- تاجیکستان گروه انصارالله را گماشته اند” , Radio Azadi, https://da.azadiradio.com/a/31380763.html, (Date of Accession: 28.07.2021).

[2] “وزیر دفاع تاجیکستان: اوضاع افغانستان پیچیده و غیرقابل پیش‌بینی است”, Fars News Agency, https://www.farsnews.ir/news/14000521000304/.  (Date of Accession: 27.08.2021).

[3] “بحران افغانستان؛ واکنش قدرت‌های کلیدی منطقه به طالبان چه بوده؟”, BBC News, https://www.bbc.com/persian/afghanistan-58268582, (Date of Accession: 27.08.2021).

[4]”نگاهی به تحولات امنیتی اخیر کشورهای آسیای مرکزی برای افغانستان جدید”,  Tasnim News Agency, https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1400/06/05/2561076/, (Date of Accession: 28.08.2021).

[5] “انتقاد شدید پوتین از استقرار موقت پناهجویان افغان در آسیای مرکزی”, Radio Farda, https://www.radiofarda.com/a/putin-criticizes-placing-afghans-in-central-asia/31422735.html, (Date of Accession: 27.08.2021).

 

Dr. Seyedmohammad Seyedi ASL
Seyedmohammad Seyedi Asl, 2008 yılında Urmiye Üniversitesi Edebiyat Fakültesi Klimatoloji Bölümü’nden mezun olmuştur. 2012 yılında Tahran Üniversitesi Coğrafya Fakültesi Jeopolitik Bölümü’nde savunduğu “Explanation of Geopolitical Relationships of Iran and Azerbaijan Republic with Constructivism Approach” başlıklı teziyle yüksek lisans derecesini almaya haz kazanmıştır. 2021 yılında Gazi Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda sunduğu “İran’ın Dış Politikasında Şia Mezhep Faktörün Etkisi ve Kullanımı: Jeopolitik Bir Değerlendirme” başlıklı teziyle doktora eğitimini tamamlamıştır. Türkçe, Farsça ve İngilizce bilen Asl’ın bu dillerde yayınlanmış çok sayıda akademik çalışması bulunmaktadır.