Taliban Power and Regional Reflexes

Dildora Tulyaganova, a graduate of the Journalism Faculty at the Tashkent National University in Uzbekistan. The author has worked as an announcer and editor for such publications and agencies as Kazakh TV, TRTAvaz and Vesti Turkey Bosphorus.

Afghanistan has been the focal point of the geopolitical interests of Great Britain, the United States of America (USA), Russia, Iran, Arab countries and in recent years China for three centuries from the 19th century to the present.

As a military geographer, orientalist and geopolitician Andrei Evgenievich Snesarev states: “History determines geography. At the same time, geography determines history.” These words apply to Afghanistan, which has been given some names over the years such as “the sun of Eurasia” and “the cemetery of the empires”.

Discussions about the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan began in 2012 during the administration of President Barack Obama, continued by Donald Trump, and reached a logical conclusion owing to the current President Joe Biden. Nina Krushcheva, a professor and political scientist at The New School University in New York, granddaughter of former Soviet Union President Nikita Khrushchev, calls the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan a kind of a gift for some countries, primarily Russia, China, Pakistan and Turkey. However, in order to understand what kind of a gift Afghanistan really is, it is enough to have knowledge about the short history of the country.

The political instability that emerged with the coming to power of the Taliban in Afghanistan caused the expected reaction in many countries. The Central Asian regions were faced with the uncertain dilemma of the flow of refugees, including those who were politically opposed to the current Taliban regime. The United States authorities were planning to use neighboring countries as temporary stationing places for evacuees while they were leaving Afghanistan. However, Tashkent and Dushanbe opposed it. Even the money they offered to the Americans whom they tried to make several attempts of persuasion was not helpful. Russian President Vladimir Putin also showed a clear negative reaction to the temporary resettlement of Afghan refugees to Central Asian countries. Putin defended this stance with the possibility that militants could enter neighboring countries under the guise of refugees.

Despite this, it is remarkable that the prudent governments of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan remained neutral and, above all, advocated a rational, political dialogue in the entire region. However, it cannot be said the same expression for Tajikistan. Tajikistan is having some concerns about security and radicalization.

So why does Russia, which is in constant negotiation with the Taliban, condone this situation?

In recent years, the Russian government has taken a hybrid approach in all aspects either negotiations or the outbreak of local conflicts. The withdrawal of US troops means above all for Russia:

  • First, with the withdrawal of US troops, Russia wants to increase its regional influence as it did in Syria, Libya and Central African Republic and return to Afghanistan.
  • Second, being directly in Afghanistan will achieve some kind of effect over the Central Asia countries as in Soviet times.

The Taliban government continues negotiations, opening a place and road under the “geopolitical sun”, despite many speculations, instability within Afghanistan itself, ethnic tensions, the blocking of funds provided to the former government and the resulting humanitarian crisis.

In his speech at the plenary session of the Valdai Discussion Club, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia would make efforts to remove the Taliban movement from the list of banned terrorist organizations. And above all, he emphasized that this should be done by the UN Security Council. Abdulaziz Kamilov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan, stated that Tashkent is in favour of freezing Afghanistan’s financial resources.

US withdrawal from Afghanistan should not be seen as a permanent solution. This can be also called as a “redeploy” or “reformat” process to save time. The political position of the USA in the world and during the Cold War was clear and defined. Now they have to reevaluate this process. Considering the American cultural hegemony, which still maintains its power, a new hierarchy of values emerges.

When we consider the current situation, we can say that the empires that always fight for redistribution and draw a new world map prefer hybrid wars and conflicts at the current stage. From a political point of view, this is a quite profitable and economic strategy. The reason of this is that establishing alliances with countries is more difficult and may cause a waste of time. The current situation did not arise spontaneously. It is a normal tool and reflection of geopolitical conflict. This is because all wars, revolutions and coups have been project-based and controlled. On the other hand, the reason for the creation of such conflicts is the monopoly to protect vital exhaustible resources. Nevertheless, how this affects the daily lives of ordinary people is a philosophical and spiritual approach.


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