U.S., NATO Connive To Remain In Central Asia

The USA has decided with its partners to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. Uzbekistan will become a key country, which will host a special military centre.

This was discussed at recent talks between US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake and Uzbek President Islam Karimov in Tashkent on 15 August.

It was the bank accounts of President Karimov’s family that influenced his willingness to agree to cooperate with the USA, a reliable source has said.

The Americans threatened that they might create problems with funds of the president’s elder daughter, Gulnara Karimova, that are deposited in Western bank accounts.

Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan will also provide air and land routes for the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan.

Retreat ways

The use of Central Asia to withdraw NATO troops from Afghanistan in 2014 was first discussed in March, during a visit by US Secretary of Defence Leon Penetta to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Then, the Kyrgyz defence minister was offered military equipment and weapons by the USA free of charge. Consequently, the same topic was discussed by Pentagon officials in Dushanbe and Tashkent.

Now NATO troops are using about 7,000 M-ATV wheeled armoured personnel carriers, 8,000 MRAP armoured vehicles with mine protection, over 10,000 HMMWV off-road vehicles and auxiliary equipment.

In addition, the Pentagon is ready to hand over medical equipment, communication facilities, fire extinguishing equipment

Kyrgyz Defence Ministry officials then agreed to accept military vehicles and communication facilities.

The Kyrgyz Defence Ministry explained that it would be very expensive to use other equipment, namely small arms taken out of battle fields.

American diplomats continued talks with Tashkent and Dushanbe.

Impossible to manage independently

US military top brass believe that hotbeds of instability may emerge on the Afghan-Tajik and Afghan-Uzbek borders after 2014.

In their opinion, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will not be able to overcome supposed terrorist threats.

CSTO rapid reaction forces will not be able to rebuff Afghan fighters either, the US military believe.

In the opinion of US diplomats, NATO forces can be used to ensure stability in Central Asia.

It is suggested that most of equipment should be given free of charge, and some for storage to Uzbekistan.

At the same time, the matter concerns the possibility of setting up a special military centre to maintain equipment and ensure stability in the region. It will be based in Uzbekistan.

Possibly, later this centre may become another foreign military base in Central Asia.

Leaving bases behind

Americans are not concealing their desire to keep their Manas base in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek. President Almazbek Atambayev last year said that the military base in Bishkek’s Manas airport would be closed in 2014.

But the Kyrgyz government explained that, most likely, the base would remain but under a different name.

The USA will mainly use the territory of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan to withdraw forces from Afghanistan.

The diligence of American diplomats in Central Asia has noticeably increased because of the approaching deadline for the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan.

After his visit to Tashkent, Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake said that in October he would visit Kyrgyzstan for a second round of talks.

A meeting with Kyrgyz authorities will touch upon the topic of the future presence of NATO troops in Central Asia.

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