Some things are evergreen. One of them is the desire of certain quarters to see disturbance at the Turkmen-Afghan border.
The Russian officials and media are the main proponents of the myth that there is some kind of disturbance at the Turkmen-Afghan border. From time to time other countries add their voice to this fable. This usually happens when Russia is also present at the forum.
It is interesting that no real examples have ever been cited when talking of any trouble at the Turkmen-Afghan border.
It is understandable as to why Russia would like this myth to take roots but now is the time to underline objectively that fact and fiction must not be mixed if peace is to prevail in Afghanistan.
The most recent example is 80th meeting of the Council of the Commanders of Border Troops of CIS, which was held on 14 November 2018 in the Kyrgyz city of Tokmak. It was attended by the heads of the border agencies of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, the statutory bodies of the CIS, the antiterrorist center and the bureau for coordinating the fight against organized crime, as well as the secretariat of the CSTO and the Executive Committee of the SCO Regional Antiterrorist Structure.
Ms. Gulmira Borubaeva, the spokesperson of the State Border Service of Kyrgyzstan, talking to the Russian news service RIA Novosti, said, “As was stated during the meeting, the most dangerous tendency of the development of the situation is in the Central Asian direction of the external borders of the CIS. It is associated with high terrorist activity, primarily in Afghanistan. aggravation of internal political problems in this country.”
She said that in the near past the militants have committed more than 70 acts of terrorism in the border areas with Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. However, the areas she mentioned are all in the proximity of Tajikistan, not Turkmenistan.
The statement of Ms. Borubaeva is a classic example of rhetorical patchwork – stitching a fragment of truth into the quilt of myth.
While it could be true that insurgency is heating up in Afghanistan, it is distributed into a large territory, the main focus being elsewhere, not the provinces bordering with Tajikistan or Turkmenistan.
There is also the need to admit that despite years and years of fear-mongering there has been no breach of borders. ——- Why? Simply because the insurgency is traveling only inside Afghanistan.
In 2016, Turkmenistan arranged a trip for some ambassadors to the borders areas just to quell the speculations that were as rich back then as they are now. The following link gives the impression of one of the ambassadors after his visit:
In any case, facts speak for themselves.
It is common practice for both the Turkmen and Afghan officials to travel by road when visiting the other’s country for meetings etc. If there were any real disturbance at the borders, the official delegations would no travel by road.
Ceremonies at the highest level including the head of state take place right at the border periodically. nCa has been witness to most of those engagements. There was no extra security, there was no shutting down of towns and villages, and there was no hassle for anyone. There was no indication that the border areas may pose any security threat from the other side, because there was none.
The question arises: why this persistent marketing of the myth about border disturbances?
The answer is in the unpredictable, rather erratic maneuvering of Trump and security concerns of Putin.
Russia has taken the right step by bringing the Taliban to the table. The next right step would be to stop propagating fear in the region and start the real-time sharing of intelligence for the decisive and joint action against the insurgents, mainly the ISIS (IS, ISIL, Daesh).
Central Asia is fully mindful of the realigning of the pieces in this jigsaw puzzle. Central Asia is also aware that ISIS in Afghanistan is an artificially created monster.
This is the time for Russia to play a uniting and positive role. This is the time for everyone to shun fiction and seek fact.