WHO WILL BE THE MASTER OF AFGHANISTAN?

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Thus, administration of Rabbani resigned. A new provisional government headed by Pashtun Hamid Karzai was formed in Afghanistan. In the new Afghan government the Pashtun accounted for more than one-third and Tajiks for 26%. There are also five Hazara, three Uzbeks and three representatives of other ethnic minorities. It was not easy to form such government. It is known that contradictions and confrontation of Afghan clans, which discussed governance of the country during the inter-Afghan conference of the UN in Bonn, nearly undermined the negotiations. Only personal interference of German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and granting of the key posts in the provisional government (Defense Minister, Interior Minister and Foreign Minister) to the Northern Alliance saved the conference from a failure and allowed swearing in of a new cabinet today.

Is such composition of the Afghan government beneficial for Russia, which chose not to send its peacekeepers to this country? What will Moscow lose and receive from beginning of peaceful life in Afghanistan? We will attempt to answer these questions and will begin from positive aspects.

First, liquidation of the Taliban regime unfriendly to Moscow is being completed with participation of the US and international community. Russia hopes that new Afghan authorities will close the channels for drug trafficking and coming of terrorists to the CIS. Thus, a system of security was strengthened in Central Asia, and possibility of instability export to Russia was reduced.

Second, with assistance of other countries Russia changed the situation in Afghanistan at the minimum material and financial costs. In conditions of a permanent economic crisis this is very important for Russia. Russia’s aid to the Northern Alliance is much bigger than the military and humanitarian expenditures of other countries, first of all, the US, who decided to come to Afghanistan and to help it transit to peaceful life.

Meanwhile, there are also some negative aspects. After beginning of combat operations against the Talibs geopolitical situation in Central Asia changed. The situation changed unfavorably for Russia and its interests. According to Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, the former director of the main department of international military cooperation of the Defense Ministry, Russia lost its geopolitical influence in the region, because the US and other NATO member states managed to deploy their military units there. According to the general, a kind of NATO eastward expansion occurred, and American presence in Central Asia would be long. “Unfortunately, Russia does not have any geopolitical doctrine and any clear model of geopolitical behavior. This circumstance makes our foreign policy inconsistent. No matter if we wish this or not, this circumstance contributes to subordination to other policy, American, Western and so on,” says Ivashov. He adds that Russia seems to follow in the wake of this policy.

“Americans skillfully used the potential that Russia and Iran had created for victories in Afghanistan. Americans fulfilled the tasks of the antiterrorist operation bombing the Talibs and actually did not risk anything. Forces of the Northern Alliance and Pashtun tribes participated in combat operations on the ground. Americans used PR campaign saying that they allegedly landed special forces somewhere. In reality they almost did not participate in active combat operations on the ground, and they spared their soldiers. They will organize special operations, and then will use other levers, military, diplomatic, economic, special services and so on. The most important thing for them is to strengthen their presence in Afghanistan and to establish their domination. These will not necessarily be military methods,” interprets and predicts the situation general Ivashov.

Meanwhile, new details of Russian and Tajik participation in combat against the Talibs are becoming known. Last Saturday Mayor general Suhrob Kasymov, commander of special brigade of Tajik Interior Ministry, gave an interview to the Russian governmental television channel RTR. He announced that Tajik specialists acted within the units of the Northern Alliance during the battles against the Talib.

Sources in Dushanbe do not rule out that a part of military advisors from the Brigade of Kasymov remained in the forces of the Northern Alliance. It is difficult to say whether the pro-Pashtun government of Afghanistan will like this. However, field commanders admit that the forces controlled by the Tajik lobby remain the most efficient in Afghanistan. No matter if Pashtun Karzai wants this or not, he will have to take these forces into account at least at the first stage.

It is known that the head of the provisional government of Afghanistan spoke for presence of American forces in the territory of the country until a complete defeating of the Talibs. He is also not against presence of peacekeeping forces under the UN flag in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Tajik clans spoke against foreign military presence in Afghanistan, but failed to do anything. According to Karzai, (and American advisors supporting him), until a certain moment foreign troops in Afghanistan will be a buffer that will supposedly control the situation and will hinder influence of the Russian-Iranian lobby coming from Fahim and other Tajik members of the government.

At this point it is also necessary to speak about the influence of the Uzbek lobby in the entourage of General Dostum. Tajik sources confirm that specialists and advisors from Uzbekistan and the US are acting in the units of Dostum. However, official Dushanbe like Moscow considers the current position of Dostum regarding confederate governance of Afghanistan as counter-productive. Tajiks (read Russia and Iran) are now allies of Karzai with regard to unification of the country. Fahim has real troops. Hence, nobody will touch Tajik advisors in the forces of Fahim yet.

Thus, losing its geopolitical influence in the region to some extent Moscow is attempting to control and influence the situation in Afghanistan through its allies.

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