Going Back To Afghanistan

GOING BACK INTO AFGHANISTAN
by Igor Plugatarev
Translated by A. Ignatkin

Source: Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May 15, 2007, pp. 1, 4
Agency WPS
What the Papers Say Part B (Russia)
May 15, 2007 Tuesday

CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization promises aid
to Afghanistan; Members of the CIS Collective Security Treaty
Organization – Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia,
Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan – are determined to assist Afghanistan’s
security structures, CSTO Secretary-General Nikolai Bordyuzha said.

Members of the CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)
– Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan,
and Uzbekistan – are determined to assist Afghanistan’s security
structures, CSTO Secretary-General Nikolai Bordyuzha said. Special
emphasis in the promised assistance will be made on strengthening
the Armed Forces.

"Our group for Afghanistan is now working on the list of the matters
where assistance will be offered," Bordyuzha said. The list on four
pages has been compiled and forwarded to the CSTO by the government
of Afghanistan. Bordyuzha made it plain that the process of "working
on the list" was not going to take long.

"We will hopefully get down to it soon," Bordyuzha said and announced
that almost 80% of the assistance Afghanistan is requesting concerns
restoration of security structures and regular army, with military
hardware deliveries and repairs, and with personnel training for
the army.

Some experts predict that financial burden of the aid programs is
going to rest mostly on Russia’s shoulders. Afghanistan’s charge
d’affaires in Russia attends CSTO meetings in the capacity of an
official representative of the government of Afghanistan. Russia
is the only member of the CSTO capable of providing the necessary
military hardware and specialists.

Major-General (retired) Pavel Zolotarev, President of the Military
Reforms Support Foundation, doesn’t think that Moscow should dispatch
its servicemen to Afghanistan itself. "No matter who they are –
engineers, mechanics, or instructors," Zolotarev explained. "Our troops
spent a decade in Afghanistan. Their appearance in this country now
may displease the locals."

"Sending military representatives of the CSTO from Central Asian
republics on the other hand – even those who may participate in the
hostilities as unlikely as it is – is quite acceptable," Zolotarev
said.

Zolotarev also maintains that Kabul must be assisted. "It is in the
interests of the CSTO as such and of Russia," he said. "What everyone
needs is a stable Afghanistan with a proper economy, not one that is
based on production and export of drugs."

That the CSTO will try to gain entry to Afghanistan similar to the
one already used once is clear. When the counter-terrorism operation
cross the Pyandj was beginning in 2001, Russia sent $200 million to
the Northern Alliance fighting Taliban in this country. Specialists
of the Russian Drug Enforcement Agency and Emergency Ministry have
been working "across the river" for several years now. Anti-traffic
specialists for Afghani security structures are trained in Domodedovo
near Moscow. The FSB and CIS Counter-Terrorism Center maintain their
own contacts with Afghani analogs, security structures from other
members of the CSTO maintain their own.

As for actual aid, it will certainly be welcome. "There are many
Russian weapons in Afghanistan that require repair and modernization,"
Zolotarev said.

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