Nature abhors vacuum
It is obvious today than ever before – NATO/USA have lost the so-called “war on terrorism” in Afghanistan. The country is ruined by endless bombings, while drug trafficking is well arranged. It should be noted that the drug export corridor was paved not for USA or Europe, but as the saying goes, “Give us the opium for the people! …of Russia and Central Asia. Now they can get out and go home.
According to the analysts, after withdrawal of the US/NATO troops from Afghanistan the resulting vacuum will require immediate fill-up. And of course, there is Russia.
Though, there are other possible scenarios as well. . . . . . . . USA will never leave Afghanistan, and by hook or by crook coalition troops would stay there for the hazy, long-range outlook. Or Afghanistan would fall under the joint Russian-Chinese influence.
Actually, few parties really think of over national reconciliation in Afghanistan. The suffering country is another superpowers’ chess problem.
Today Russia does not dare to send its army to Afghanistan like USSR had done in December 1979. However, struggle for strengthening its geopolitical influence is worth the effort.
The fight against drug trafficking is Moscow’s strategic priority in Afghanistan.
Fight against drug trafficking can be called as a slogan of Russia’s attitude to the situation in Afghanistan.
Addressing the SCO summit in Astana, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said: “Struggle against drugs is a serious task…. In this context, Russia calls for closer and multifaceted cooperation between SCO and Afghanistan.
“Afghanistan is our neighbor-country, and its participation in the organization may be more profound. … The process of political stabilization in the country depends on that and the security of our countries depends on the situation in this country”, Medvedev said.
Moscow’s involvement in Afghanistan is also discussed by well-known politicians and the State Duma deputies.
Speaking at the World Russian Forum in April this year, the head of the Committee on International affairs of the Russian Duma Konstantin Kosachev said: “The situation in Afghanistan is the direct threat to our national security, in particular in the spheres where the international coalition makes not enough efforts. It is the production of drugs. ”
“Afghanistan was the main reason for creating the SCO 10 years ago, even before 9/ 11, when the Americans had recognized this threat. We are well acquainted with the risk of export of radical Islam to our region. It seems that the U.S. can not solve Afghanistan’s problems, and revival of this threat causes serious concern”, said Sergei Markov, director of the Institute of Political Studies, the prominent political scientist, the State Duma deputy from the party “United Russia”.
Mr. Markov is an eccentric person. In February, the deputy has stopped taking vodka, until the Russian alcohol consumption would reduce by half. He candidly appreciates the human rights situation in Chechnya and he is an ardent supporter of the values of European civilization.
The remarks of Sergey Markov on the prospects of USA-Russia military cooperation is quite noteworthy —- “We can cooperate with America in military sphere. I believe that joint US-Russian military base can be created in Kyrgyzstan. This would be a good example of the military cooperation between Russia and the United States.”
After this statement Mr. Markov can be called political utopian.
“We are able to cooperate with US in the struggle with drug trafficking, but the USA does not desire it. So, if the Americans fight against extremisms and drug trafficking we are ready to cooperate, if no, there is no cooperation”, said Markov in interview to Central-Asian Portal when he was asked about the drug supply increase in Russia since NATO invasion to Afghanistan.
Listening to the Russian political luminaries, one can understand that they do now recognize one simple truth. The peace process in Afghanistan is impossible without the simultaneous efforts for country’s economic and infrastructural rehabilitation.
Afghan theme was widely discussed by SPECA forum, recently held in the capital of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat on June 7-8, 2011.
Speaking at the opening session, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Reshid Meredov stressed the need for integration of Afghan people in the peace process, creating the jobs and economic opportunities, taking the efforts for creation of favourable political atmosphere. These initiatives will eliminate the sources of extremism, terrorism and drug trafficking, he said.
Jan Kubis, head of the UNECE, who was among the participants of SPECA forum also recognized —- It is difficult to establish and maintain peace without economic development in Afghanistan.
The governments of superpowers should understand that the peace process, and national reconciliation in Afghanistan would proceed only with the participation of all Afghan groups. In the first place, the peace in Afghanistan should become the responsibility of the Afghan people.
Only the Afghan-born man, imbibing the mentality of Afghan people with mother’s milk, is able to decide what kind of peace is desirable and how to achieve it. The values of European civilization are inapplicable there.
The active interference of third parties is inadmissible under any pretext – the fight against extremism, the fight against drug trafficking . . .
Mediation in a peaceful settlement is possible only with the participation of a neutral party, but it cannot be an interested superpower.
Drug production can be eradicated, but the infrastructural development and the creation of job places is indispensable requirement. .
Afghanistan needs plants, factories, universities, roads, schools and hospitals. Afghanistan needs industrial and social infrastructure.
That’s where, as Mr Medvedev said, today Afghanistan needs help and support. The babble on “possible Russian participation in the recovery of Afghanistan” with Karzai makes no sense.
New industrial facilities will create thousands of jobs places. And then there will be no desire and time for the Afghan farmers to cultivate the poppies.
Elvira Kadyrova can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org