Why is the US Surveying the Kyrgyz-Tajik Border

To the United States, Central Asia (CA) not only remains a major rival region with key geopolitical players, who are primarily Russia and China. CA is also a springboard to deploy active operations on the so-called “second front” to divert Beijing and Moscow’s forces from their actions against Taiwan and Ukraine. For years, the United States has sought to isolate Russia and China by alienating their closest neighbors, particularly in Central Asia. Today, these efforts have intensified after the State Department openly admitted in September that the goal of US policy is to disconnect Russia’s and China’s economies from Central Asia.

To achieve these goals, Washington is using a variety of approaches in the region that are nothing more than “probing” the territory and possible responses from states that both belong and have interests there. Particular activity in this regard began after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the loss of its ability to influence the situation in Central Asia.

Concrete confirmation of the tactics indicated by Washington in Central Asia was the information that emerged a few days ago about the arrival of a five-member US military delegation led by Robert Unger, the Director of Resources and Analysis of the US Central Command, in the Batken region of Kyrgyzstan. This military representative serves as senior advisor to the CENTCOM commander and is responsible for combat analysis, decision support, budget and resources, science, and technology. He serves as a senior analyst with the Pentagon’s Afghanistan Security Forces Fund, which deals with “supporting the security forces” of the country the US defeated in 2021, the Taliban (who are banned in the Russian Federation). He has specialized in Afghan and Central Asian issues for many years.

  1. Unger’s choice of the Batken region for the trip is not accidental, as it is a hotbed of constant border incidents, conflicts, and clashes between Kyrgyzstan and neighboring Tajikistan. From this, the reason is not only as obvious, as well as the purpose of the emergence of high-ranking American military strategists here. This is clearly linked to Washington’s planning for another border conflict in Central Asia. Having interested local authorities in the alleged prospects for “developing cooperation with the United States,” members of the US delegation familiarized themselves with the material and technical base of the Kyrgyz Ministry of Emergency Situations talked with rescue workers about humanitarian assistance and planned actions in the event of another armed conflict on the border.

Concurrently, it is noteworthy that as early as August, American military personnel actively participated in exercises on the territory of neighboring Tajikistan, which receives combat helicopters and other material and technical support from the United States from the Afghan army of the former regime of Ashraf Ghani.

The visit of the said US military delegation has raised quite legitimate questions in the Kyrgyz society. Especially, considering that there is no military agreement between Bishkek and Washington. Kyrgyzstan is a member of the CSTO, with which the authorities of this country must first coordinate such talks on “cooperation” with representatives of other military blocs, especially NATO.

Thus, Adakhan Madumarov, the chairman of the Butun Kyrgyzstan party, stresses that given the current already tense situation on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border, “such a visit of the American military delegation and its actions in the country could introduce undesirable changes in the foreign policy of Kyrgyzstan, since, after all, they are not ordinary tourists”. Another deputy of the Jogorku Kenesh, Iskhak Masaliev, directly expressed his opinion in the social networks that the real purpose of the visit of R. Unger and his “delegation” was banal espionage.

Coincidentally, it is quite obvious that the visit of the US military to the conflict zone means only a search for ways to destabilize the current situation and explore the most advantageous opportunities for Washington to resume the conflict here. At the same time, their actions are clearly aimed at discrediting the CSTO, of which both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are members, and undermining Russia’s peacekeeping efforts to resolve conflicts in Central Asia.

In this regard, it should be recalled that Russian President Vladimir Putin recently held active negotiations with the leaders of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in Astana, as a result of which an agreement was reached on freezing the conflict and the return of refugees who have left the region. And, most importantly, on the search for an unprejudiced border demarcation between the two countries based on archival research with the participation of the Russian Federation.

Undoubtedly, the steps taken by Moscow, by analogy with the result previously achieved with Russia’s mediation in the settlement in some sections of the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border, can really contribute to the resolution of the conflict in the Kyrgyz-Tajik border area, which has flared up repeatedly since 2015. After all, armored vehicles have been parked on the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border in the past as well, and the normal movement of people and goods between the two countries has been significantly impeded. However, most sections of the border with Uzbekistan have since been successfully demarcated.

In light of the above actions by the US military, I would like to pose the question: What would the US do if, for example, Russian or Chinese politicians and representatives of the military and special services were to visit the US border area on such missions? For example, by addressing the problem of regulating the flow and the issue with the migrants on the Mexico-US border? — Or perhaps, shouldn’t Russian representatives adopt the above “US experience” and not limit themselves only to cabinet remarks? Isn’t everything normal on the Mexico-US border, and do not the media in both countries regularly publish sensational articles calling on the international community to help resolve the situation there?

It seems sufficient for instance, to read the regularly published appeals of the Mexican publication La Jornada about the migration crisis in Tijuana, where thousands of Central American migrants are gathering to escape poverty and violence, and many shelters are overcrowded. At the same time, the publication highlights the existence of xenophobic sentiments that have developed along the US-Mexican border and throughout the region.

Alternatively, the appeal of the US publication The Federalist regarding the detention of migrant children by the Biden administration in appalling conditions, with no outraged voices inside and outside the United States.

Are such facts not the basis for trips by representatives of Russia and China to the US border area for a “return visit”?

By Valery Kulikov
Source: New Eastern Outlook

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