Central Asia: Russia Organizes A Posse

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December 9, 2010: Russia is making a major diplomatic, intelligence and police effort to interrupt the flow of heroin from Afghanistan, via Tajikistan, then via Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, into Russia. This drug killing at least 30,000 Russians a year, and is a major cause of the spread of AIDS there as well. Russia believes that a quarter of Afghan heroin production (90 percent of the world total) is sold in Russia. Thus Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan have formally united to coordinate their anti-drug efforts.  This anti-heroin campaign has Russia being more helpful to the NATO effort in Afghanistan (like allowing combat vehicles to be shipped via rail through Russia.) The Central Asian nations, and Russia, are concerned about plans by NATO forces to withdraw from Afghanistan in the next five years. The fear is that the drug gangs will take over, as they are the wealthiest force in the country, and cash is a mighty weapon.

Kyrgyzstan is still having problems with forming a new government, dealing with followers of deposed president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, ethnic hostilities and Islamic radicals. None of these issues is at a crises level, and the biggest problem is resolving disputes over the recent elections, and who should run the country.

Central Asian Islamic terror groups are still having problems establishing themselves in their homelands. There is not enough local support, and the Soviet era secret police structures are still robust enough to give the terror groups a lot of difficulty. If the communist were good at one thing, it was running a police state. Thus remnants of Central Asian Islamic terror groups continue to be encountered in Afghanistan and Pakistan (where most have fled), and even farther afield.

December 3, 2010:  The U.S. has told Kyrgyzstan that it will continue to lease the Manas until American forces have withdrawn from Afghanistan. This is currently scheduled to happen in 2014, but these deadlines tend to get extended indefinitely. U.S. peacekeepers were sent to Bosnia in 1995, for what was said to be a one year assignment. The American troops are still there.

 

 

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