The US rejected Russia’s warnings that Daesh is assembling in northern Afghanistan and getting ready to pose a threat to Central Asia.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov drew attention to this threat during a speech in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe earlier this month at the “Countering Terrorism and Preventing Violent Extremism” two-day conference, which was recently followed by Pentagon representative Lieut. Col. Kone Faulkner dismissing this as “propaganda” and instead insisting that Russia “is not doing enough to address the problem of radicalization and terrorist recruitment within its own borders”, even though Syromolotov spoke about precisely these anti-terrorist efforts at an OSCE counter-terrorism conference two weeks ago.
The US approach towards Daesh’s increased presence in Afghanistan has remained consistent in that it continuously denies that the group is growing here and attempts to cast doubt on all of Russia’s warnings about this in order to portray Moscow as manipulating this terrorist threat for geostrategic purposes. The US doesn’t like that the Central Asian states are working closer with Russia through the CSTO mutual defense treaty and with China via the SCO in order to counter this threat because Washington wants to be the sole so-called “security provider” in this region.
The US is already trying to revive its strategic partnership with Uzbekistan after its new President visited the country to meet with Trump last week, but Tashkent’s pragmatic leader is unlikely to do anything that would endanger his state’s regional connectivity prospects that he’s worked so hard for the past year and a half to expand. This leads to the cynical scenario where US strategic objectives could best be served by seeing Daesh function as an indirectly guided divide-and-rule asset for sowing the seeds of regional chaos in Central and South Asia just like it previously did in West Asia.
To explain, one of the fundamental objectives of Hybrid War is to externally provoke identity-based conflict over something as polarizing as religion, for instance, in order to disrupt multipolar transnational connective initiatives such as integrational institutions like the SCO or infrastructure projects like the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), thus making Afghanistan ground zero for launching northern and southern Daesh-driven destabilization campaigns, respectively, against these two examples. All of Afghanistan’s neighbors as well as Russia are well aware of this threat, which deepens their suspicion of America’s motives for denying the obvious.
Two unlikely partners realized what the game was early on and used their shared interests in thwarting the US’ chaotic scenario as the basis for their fast-moving and full-spectrum rapprochement, with Russia and Pakistan having since courageously moved past their history of distrust with one another and into a brand new era of strategic relations that began with Afghanistan but has since developed continental implications through the exciting prospect of finally bringing together the Golden Ring of Eurasian Great Powers. The Russian-Pakistani axis had hitherto been the weakest link in the grand consortium of those two, China, Iran, and Turkey, but is now among the most promising ones.
By denying Daesh’s growing presence in Central Asia, the US inadvertently strengthened the Golden Ring that it originally wanted the terrorists to disrupt, with the consequences of this blowback being worse than even the late Brzezinski could have expected. Writing in his now-infamous strategy-planning book about the “Grand Chessboard”, he said that the US must do everything in its power to prevent Russia and China from joining forces against America, but after Washington’s infowar debacle with Daesh in Afghanistan, the Polish thinker’s adopted homeland now has to confront the prospect of these two Eurasian Great Powers partnering with the Multipolar CENTO of Muslim ones in Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan via the Golden Ring.