Expert: Withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan will not lead to significant changes in region

Azerbaijan, Baku, 13 Feb. / Trend E. Kosolapova/

Withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan in 2014 will not lead to significant changes in the region, according to the Regional Program Coordinator of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Alexander Knyazev.

This was told Trend by expert on telephone on Wednesday.

In particular, in his opinion, the Central Asian countries should not fear a significant deterioration of the situation in the region in terms of security in connection with the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan, as the situation in present is quite tense anyways.

"The threats have never stopped. 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," Knyazev said.

In addition, according to an expert, lost of control of the U.S. over the region following withdrawal of NATO troops in 2014 shouldn't be expected.

"Last year, NATO leadership adopted the official decision to make changes to the terminology in relation to Afghanistan, by replacing the term "withdrawal" with the word "relocation"... Part of the troops will be withdrawn from the region, and the remaining part will be attempted to be placed in Central Asian countries. Moreover, negotiations at different levels and in different formats on placement of various military facilities on territories of the Central Asian states are conducted on continuing basis," Knyazev said.

According to the expert, it is about creating a variety of objects under different names throughout the Central Asian region, including even neutral Turkmenistan.

"These could be anti-terrorist centers with the presence of American troops. These could be pseudo-civilian objects performing military tasks as needed. Thus, network infrastructure is to be established," Knyazev stated.

According to the expert, creation of these objects is most likely to take place in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and possibly in Kazakhstan. According to the recently adopted concept of foreign policy of Uzbekistan, military facilities of other countries may not be located on Uzbek territory. However, this concept doesn't exclude creation of pseudo-civilian objects, according to Knyazev.

Earlier, in a speech at the Congress, U.S. President Barack Obama announced the full withdrawal of the U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
"Tonight, I can announce that over the next year, another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan. This drawdown will continue. And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over," the president said.

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