International community pin hopes on Central Asia in Afghanistan problem resolution

Kazakhstan Materials 28 November 2013 16:28 (UTC +04:00)
The international community is looking to the Central Asian region to help resolve Afghanistan’s problems.
International community pin hopes on Central Asia in Afghanistan problem resolution

Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 28
Elena Kosolapova - Trend: The international community is looking to the Central Asian region to help resolve Afghanistan's problems.

Afghanistan has a very poor economy, high level of poverty among the population and spreading illegal production of drugs. Moreover the country faces continued threats from terrorist groups.

The problems facing Afghanistan continues to be the focus of talks between Central Asian countries and international organization and world powers.

Jan Kubis, UN Special Representative for Afghanistan discussed the issues affecting the war ravaged country with Kazakhstan's officials including President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Nov.27 -28.

International representatives responsible for Afghanistan often visit Central Asian countries where the Northern Distribution Network operates.

The Northern Distribution Network is a key supply line for the Afghan war effort. It took on added importance in supplying International Security Assistance Force troops in Afghanistan after Pakistan closed cross-border supply routes into the country in November 2012. The closure followed the accidental deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers killed in a NATO airstrike along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

These are just some of the complication affecting Afghanistan on the eve of NATO troops withdrawal scheduled for 2014. Following the withdrawal of NATO soldiers a small number of international troops are scheduled to remain in county pending ratification by Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

If the Afghan president refuses to sign the security agreement with the United States the latter withdraw all forces from Afghanistan. This worries all neighboring countries.

"All the events that take place in Afghanistan influences on the Central Asian economy and first of all security," Azhdar Kurtov, chief editor of "Problems of National Strategy" magazine frpm the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies told Trend by phone.
Meanwhile as Nicolas de Pedro, a researcher at CIDOB in Spain earlier told Trend, Afghanistan's future remains uncertain.

"The Afghanistan National Army seems unready to guarantee the necessary level of security and stability within the country," de Pedro said.
Not all the expert share the opinion that the presence of NATO troops is a guarantee for security in the region.

"The presence of American troops in Afghanistan hasn't reduced the scale of threats and hasn't changed their character during the time after 2001. Conversely, the situation has only worsened by a number of indicators. For example, production and transit of drugs increased tenfold during this time," the regional program coordinator of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Alexander Knyazev earlier told Trend.

According to Azhdar Kurtov, Central Asian countries have no economic interests in Afghanistan. The trade volumes between this region and Afghanistan are moderate as Central Asia produce products similar to Afghan export. They also do not plan to participate in development of Afghanistan's mineral resources as they do no have necessary resources and technologies. Moreover it is quite risky to implement any economic projects in Afghanistan due to its instability. Kurtov mentioned Turkmenistan- Afghanistan-Pakistan- India (TAPI) gas pipeline project which has been under discussion for almost 20 years and whose participantы do not seem to be in any hurry to launch it.
In any event Afghanistan will enter uncharted territory in 2014 and Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan should be ready for changes in the region.