Afghan neighbors are wary as the US is looking for a nearby staging area

U.S. diplomats are attractive with Central Asian leaders this week as they are working to secure a nearby location to respond to the resurgence of external militants in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Attacks are escalating.

But even when high-level US diplomats head to the region, they face more doubts from Afghan neighbors about such security affiliated with the United States. This is in contrast to 2001, when the United States counterattacked the 9/11 attacks planned by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, making the territory available to US bases, troops, and other access by Central Asian countries.

According to former U.S. diplomats, the partial success of the war in Afghanistan has caused U.S. distrust as a credible long-term partner after major fluctuations in U.S. involvement locally and globally. .. There is russia, Blast this week Permanent US military bases in the Central Asian sphere of influence would be “unacceptable.”

Meanwhile, Taliban leadership, more Internationally familiar Since 2001, he has made a diplomatic visit to the provincial capital and Moscow this summer, broadly promising to pursue regional security, peace and trade in the fight against the Kabul government.

“That is, I can personally see the value of American bases in Central Asia, but I’m not sure if Central Asian states see such value,” said Central as Uzbekistan’s US Ambassador. John Herbst, who helped arrange military access in Asia, said. Asia in 2001.

“It was hit through a failure in Afghanistan,” Herbst said after the United States neutralized al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, but struggled to fight the fundamentalist Taliban and strengthen the Kabul-based nation. “Is it a deadly hit? Probably not, but it’s still a very powerful element.”

The former Soviet Republic of Central Asia, adjacent to Afghanistan, oversaw the United States’ long-standing enthusiastic call for democracy, then watched President Barack Obama leave to some extent, and then President Donald Trump almost completely. Jennifer Brick Multazashibiri said he had watched him leave. A former US Agency for International Development employee in Central Asia, he is now a regional researcher at the University of Pittsburgh.

“I think it made the United States seem like it had no purpose,” Murtazashvili said. “For a long time, the United States did not have a very strong strategy or presence in Central Asia.”

However, relations with Central Asia prevent the fundamentalist Taliban from again allowing foreign Islamic extremists to use Afghanistan as a base for launching attacks on the United States and other external targets. Because we are aiming for it, it is a security issue for the Byden administration.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said Wednesday that Central Asian countries would “make a sovereign decision on the level of cooperation with the United States” after the withdrawal of Afghanistan.

“It is not only in our interests that Afghanistan is stable and safe, but in fact it is in the direct interests of our neighbors,” Price said.

The administration gives little detail about what kind of security access it seeks in the region or from which country. The United States can manage Afghanistan’s strike and counter-terrorism capabilities from Gulf countries or US aircraft carriers, but the closer they are, the better. This is especially true of intelligence activities to track the development of Afghanistan.

Such an agreement will probably be cautious.

The United States also reportedly investigated neighboring countries for the temporary relocation of Afghan translators and other American employees.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed this week that the United States is still actively courting Central Asian countries. “We are discussing the availability of facilities and infrastructure close to Afghanistan with the countries in the region,” he said.

To that end, the Biden administration invited Uzbekistan and Tajikistan’s foreign ministers to Washington earlier this month, shining a bright light on US diplomacy.

Biden’s homeland security adviser, Elizabeth Sherwood Randall, and Zalmay Khalilzad, special representative of the United States and Afghanistan, will head to a conference in the Uzbekistan capital on Thursday for countries and nations in almost every region. Attracted the foreign minister and the president.

All countries are urgently and directly affected by whether Afghanistan will once again become a radical shelter upon the withdrawal of the United States.

For the landlocked country Uzbekistan, the hope of rapidly reaching the outside market depends on completing the railroad to the port of Pakistan via Afghanistan.

“It’s very important to us,” said Jabron Bajabov, Uzbekistan’s Ambassador to the United States. The US-backed government in Afghanistan in Kabul has promised to support the project, and perhaps more importantly, the Taliban leaders on their two visits to Uzbekistan.

“We were relieved that these people wouldn’t attack or hurt the project,” Vakhabov said.

Uzbek’s law, which was intended to keep the former Soviet Republic inconsistent with any block, now prohibits the country from hosting foreign bases and counter-terrorism efforts, he said.

The region is now waiting to see if the Taliban are making good promises to be good neighbors, despite what might happen among Afghan rivals. Otherwise, cooperation with US security goals is likely to increase, a former diplomat said.

“Every country in the region must be worried about the Taliban’s intentions, if the Taliban behave more than it is great for them,” said former US ambassador Herbst. “If the Taliban do not act, they need some help — and they need help from us.”


AP diplomatic writer Matthew Lee contributed to this report.

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