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CSTO Discusses Afghan Contingency Plans

CSTO General Secretary Nikolai Bordyuzha
A working group for the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has convened in Moscow to discuss possible options should the situation in Afghanistan worsen after foreign forces withdraw from that country.

CSTO General Secretary Nikolai Bordyuzha addressed the group, stressing the need for coordinated action to prevent any problems in Afghanistan from spilling over the border into CIS Central Asian states.

"It's important for us to have answers to questions about the durability of the government in Kabul and can it control the situation in the country after 2014," Bordyuzha said.

"We need to understand what the chances are that the Taliban will seize power in Afghanistan and if that happens, we need to predict how the relations between Afghanistan and neighboring states will develop, in this case with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan," the CSTO chief added.

Bordyuzha pointed out that the situation in northern Afghanistan, along the CIS border, is already growing complicated and that this is a matter of concern for the CSTO.

In this regard he also noted relations between foreign forces and Afghan authorities are at times aggravated "despite the presence of a common enemy."

The CSTO head mentioned the role some countries have in the Northern Distribution Network – rail and air routes leading from Europe to Afghanistan used by NATO forces to ferry supplies and troops.

Bordyuzha said there would be a CSTO meeting on December 3 to discuss questions about the transit of foreign forces from Afghanistan through CIS territory as the planned 2014 drawdown of NATO-U.S. forces progresses.

The announced drawdown of foreign forces has Afghanistan's neighbors concerned. The drawdown does not mean all foreign forces are leaving Afghanistan but the responsibility for security will fall on Afghan government forces.

All the Central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – have played roles in supporting U.S.-NATO efforts in Afghanistan.

The CSTO groups Russia with Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

With reporting by ITAR-TASS and Interfax
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