Ebook: Afghanistan and Central Asia: NATO's Role in Regional Security since 9/11
Instability in Afghanistan has had a considerable effect on regional security in Central Asia, particularly in the aftermath of the events of 9/11, and this has meant that the importance of NATO and its contribution to security in this area has increased considerably. A detailed analysis of this topic is precisely important because it could highlight the areas where the Central Asian countries could increase their security contributions to Afghanistan’s security through enhancing their cooperation with NATO. This book presents the fully revised and updated versions of papers presented at the NATO Advanced Research Workshop (ARW), 'NATO, the Fight against International Terrorism in Afghanistan and Security Situation in Central Asia since 9/11', held in Ankara, Turkey, in April 2011. This ARW was supported by the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme.
The book takes a comprehensive approach to the regional security complex in Central Asia by emphasizing the human security, socio-political and energy dimensions in addition to the traditional military dimension of the fight against international terrorism in and around Afghanistan. The findings of the book enhance our understanding of the root causes of international terrorism and the effective ways of coping with the security challenges in this region. The book is divided into five parts: First, NATO’s Contribution to Lasting Security in Afghanistan; Second, Responses of the Central Asian States to Political Instability, Organized Crime and International Terrorism in Afghanistan; Third, Energy Security in and around Central Asia; Fourth, International Competition and Co-operation over Afghanistan and Central Asia; and Last but not least, Regional Security Organizations and the Fight against International Terrorism in Afghanistan.
This book is based on the contributions of the experts who participated in and presented their papers at the NATO Advanced Research Workshop entitled as ‘NATO, the Fight against International Terrorism in Afghanistan and Security Situation in Central Asia since 9/11’. This workshop was held at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara-Turkey between 10-11 April 2011.
The idea to organize this NATO Advanced Research Workshop was co-developed by me from the Middle East Technical University and Prof. Zhamgyrbek Bokoshev from the Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University in Bishkek-Kyrgyzstan. We shared the observation that the security situation in Afghanistan has been affecting the regional security in Central Asia considerably, especially in the aftermath of 9/11. Accordingly, NATO's importance and contributions to the regional security in this area have also increased. We also thought that there is a need for organizing a scientific workshop focusing on various aspects of the growing linkage between the security situation in Afghanistan and regional security in Central Asia as well as NATO's contributions to the security of both Afghanistan and Central Asia.
This NATO Advanced Research Workshop (ARW), which was supported by the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme, sought to promote dialogue among the experts from the NATO Member and NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) countries on the impact of Afghanistan on the security situation in Central Asia. The Workshop also sought to analyze the various dimensions of security in Central Asia as well as NATO's contributions to peace and security in this region in the aftermath of 9/11.
To this end, academics and experts from NATO member countries as well as its Partnership for Peace (PfP) partner countries met in Ankara - Turkey between 10 - 11 April 2011, for a two-day NATO-sponsored Advanced Research Workshop. During this ARW, the participants presented their papers and discussed their findings with other participants as well as the general audience. This book is composed of the fully-revised and updated versions of the papers presented at this NATO Advanced Research Workshop.
I would like to thank the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme for agreeing to support this Project both at the workshop and publication stages. I am particularly thankful to Dr. Deniz Beten, Ms Susan Williamson and Lynne Campbell-Nolan from the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme who have been always very kind in answering my questions. I am also thankful to Dr. Daniela Riggio from NATO for participating in our workshop and contributing to this publication despite his very busy schedule.
I am also grateful to Ms. Maureen Twaig, the Publication Manager of the IOS Press BV for her invaluable support, patience and understanding during the publication process. I would also like to thank the IOS Press and all of its staff for their professional work.
I am also thankful to all participants of this ARW for sharing their invaluable views and revising their papers fully in order to transform them into the chapters of this book. I would like express my gratitude to Prof. Zhamgyrbek Bokoshev from the Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University in Bishkek-Kyrgyzstan for his cooperation in preparing this NATO Advanced Research Workshop Project as well as during the workshop organization.
I am particularly grateful to Professor Meliha Altunisik, Dean of the Graduate School of Social Sciences and Professor Huseyin Bagci, Chairperson of the Department of International Relations at the Middle East Technical University for their personal and institutional support throughout the workshop and publication stages. Both Professor Altunisik and Professor Bagci made invaluable scholarly contributions during the workshop too. I am also indebted to Prof. Thomas Barfield, a leading scholar on Afghanistan from Boston University in the United States, for his intellectual support for my studies on Afghanistan and Central Asia.
I would also like to thank Ms. Janargul Borkoeva for her invaluable assistance throughout the project. I am also thankful to Mr. Beishenbek Toktogulov, Ms. Viktoriia Demydova, Ms. Anastasiya Stelmakh and Mr. Zeki Günay for their help in organizing the workshop.
Last but not least, I am so grateful to Hezar, my wife, and Idil, my daughter, that my thanking will never be sufficient for their personal support and understanding during the editing stage of this book.
Oktay F. Tanrisever
The opinions and comments presented in the book represent the personal views of the individual authors themselves and do not represent the official views of NATO or the countries and institutions with which the authors of this volume are affiliated. The authors are individually responsible for the content of their chapters. All the rights of the articles in this book are reserved.
Since the tragic events of 9/11, more than a decade of engagement by the International Community - and NATO/ISAF with it - in Afghanistan has been instrumental in creating the conditions that have enabled Afghanistan to embark upon a new path towards enduring stability. To date, progress has been made in the domains of security, governance, human rights, and social and economic development. This is the result of several factors. Amongst these is the decision, undertaken in the second part of 2009, to reboot the Afghan campaign by bridging a gap that for some years had existed between an ambitious end-state (a self-sustainable Afghanistan) and the resources put on the ground to achieve it. Rebooting the campaign has not meant just executing a surge of civilian and military resources. It has also meant embarking on a fully-fledged counter-insurgency model of international assistance. The counter-insurgency approach has started to bear fruit. The insurgents are on the back-foot, the Afghan National Security Forces continue to grow, the process of transition to full Afghan security responsibility is on track to be completed by the agreed deadline of end-2014, and the International Community as a whole has recently confirmed, through the Tokyo Conference, its long-term commitment towards Afghanistan, up to the end of 2014 and beyond that. However, we cannot and we must not be complacent. A stable Afghanistan requires a continued effort to strengthen Afghan ownership, through a comprehensive approach. NATO is determined to play its part within this framework. At the 2010 Summit in Lisbon, the Atlantic Alliance vowed to remain committed through the completion of the transition process and beyond that. The recently held Summit in Chicago, in May 2012, has just reinforced this message.
Afghanistan has been the theatre of the great power rivalries throughout its modern history due to its strategic location. Afghanistan's chronic instability has also affected the political stability of its neighbours. Therefore, Afghanistan's neighbours have always monitored the external attempts at achieving political stability in Afghanistan due to their regional implications. In this context, the Operation Enduring Freedom, which successfully ousted the Taliban from power in Kabul, was supported by a counter-insurgency strategy of coopting the Taliban's relative moderate elements. This counter-insurgency strategy, which is also known as 3R process, namely; reconciliation, reintegration and reconstruction, has been supported by the NATO countries. Nevertheless, Central Asian neighbours of Afghanistan have been largely confused by the adoption of this counter-insurgency strategy. This paper explores the sources and the implications of the Central Asian responses to the 3R process in Afghanistan.
The article discusses the regional connectedness of political contention in Central Asia and Afghanistan. Countries in the region experienced various levels of political contention during last twenty years. Besides, these political contentions have developed significant cross-border effects. The article lays out the extent to which countries in the region have economic, social and informational connectedness, and then discusses political volatility in each of them. Using the theoretical framework of the social movements literature, emphasizing the concepts of resource mobilization, opportunity structures and framing, the article discusses whether various social movements and actors in the region are connected primarily along the militant and religious dimensions or not. The article claims that most of the contentions in the region have mainly external rather than diffusion effects. This explains the instances of cross-border consequences of contentious actions throughout the region.
Security of five post-Soviet Central Asian states cannot be studied without taking into consideration of developments in neighboring Afghanistan and illicit drugs trafficking from this country. Some experts argue that illicit drug trafficking has been threatening the political, military, economic and societal sectors of security of newly independent states in Central Asia. This article, however, analyzes the issue from securitization perspective; and argues that illicit drug trafficking has not become security issue in the region yet. It analyzes the actions of the Central Asian governments against illicit drugs trafficking, including the speeches of their leaders who often acknowledge the threat of illicit drugs trafficking. As this study points out, however, there is no discursive consensus around the securitization of this issue. Having examined the policies of Uzbekistan against extremism, the strategies of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan against separatism as well as Tajikistan's measures of protecting the transit and transport corridors, the article demonstrates that the Central Asian countries have not utilized their capabilities and securitization experiences in fighting narcotics trafficking. The article discusses the reasons that lead the regional governments to undertake extraordinary measures. It also analyzes the chances and drawbacks concerning the securitization of illicit drugs trafficking in Central Asia. The article suggests that the improvement of the status quo with more effective anti-corruption mechanisms could be the key to success as the attempts at the securitization of this issue in Central Asia had significant drawbacks.
This article discusses the sources and characteristics of terrorism in Central Asia, particularly in Kyrgyzstan as well as the scope and effectiveness of counter-terrorism measures in the region. The article analyzes the threats to regional security, nature of radicalism, reasons of population's involvement in radical politics and the impact of Afghanistan on the problem of terrorism in the region. The article also focuses on the phenomenon of terrorism in Kyrgyzstan by identifying its main causes, such as weak political institutions, the crisis of ideology in the post-Soviet era and Kyrgyzstan's legal system. It also discusses the history of terrorism, and active terrorist movements within the borders of the Kyrgyz Republic. In addition, the article explores the legal and regulatory frameworks of Kyrgyz Republic in which the Kyrgyz authorities take their measures to combat terrorism. In this respect, the article also identifies role of regional security institutions in countering terrorism. These regional security organizations include the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
This paper explores the impact of the security problems of Afghanistan on Kyrgyzstan's current national security situation. Afghanistan's main channels of indirect influence are the narcotics trafficking and the infiltration of the international terrorist groups into the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic. Besides, the “Afghan crisis” has a direct impact on the national security of Kyrgyz Republic. The identification and assessment of Afghanistan's influence on the security situation in Kyrgyzstan necessitates an analysis of the social, political, geopolitical, economic and ideological aspects of this complex issue. In this paper, it is emphasized that the negative regional influence of the security situation in Afghanistan could be contained depending on the stability of the internal socio-political situation in the Kyrgyz Republic and the existence of a reliable system of the international cooperation against the terrorism and extremism in the region. The active participation of the Kyrgyz Republic in the socio-economic recovery of Afghanistan could also have a positive impact on the strengthening of Kyrgyzstan's national security too.
Ensuring energy security has been among paramount priorities of the major European countries since the 1980s. Different diversification projects have been discussed in this regard which were designed to carry Russian or the Caspian natural gas through onshore or underwater pipelines from the East to the West. The emergence of Russia as a heavyweight monopoly-oriented player in the European energy market has brought a new dimension to the traditional East-West energy dialogue. Nowadays, Russia's energy policy is a serious concern for economic and political stability in many European countries, including EU and NATO members. So far, the EU has been struggling to develop and pursue a truly common energy policy, raising questions about whether NATO should take over this role or not. This paper argues that under these circumstances, it is vital that energy issues be scrutinized through a security lens, and that EU and NATO should coordinate their efforts in this area. Moreover, it also concludes that leaving Ukraine and/or Turkey outside the European energy policy would definitely weaken both EU and NATO.
This paper seeks to examine energy as a key factor in the domestic and foreign policies of the Central Asian states. The paper explores the domestic and regional dimensions of energy security for the Central Asian countries by elucidating the key issues in the domestic aspects of their energy policies as well as their policies towards other regional actors. In fact, all of the Central Asian states, namely; Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, have their own niche in regional politics as well as the energy resources of oil, natural gas and water. These factors shape the energy security strategies of the Central Asian countries and their capabilities in meeting the challenges of energy security. In this respect, one of the key security challenges facing the Central Asian states is the Afghan problem. The Central Asian countries could contribute to enhancing security in Afghanistan through realizing the following energy projects: Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline and the Central Asia - South Asia electricity scheme (CASA). In addition, the support of the Central Asian countries for NATO's Northern Distribution Network (NDN) could also enhance energy security in this region considerably.
This paper seeks to analyze energy politics and the security situation in the Caspian Sea basin from the perspective of Azerbaijan. The aim is to discuss the primary motives behind Azerbaijan's foreign and energy policy strategies in the changing geopolitical context. This paper focuses on Azerbaijan as one of the pivotal countries in the Eurasia region, as well as its interests in the Caspian Sea basin before and after 2001. The paper will explore the roles of Azerbaijan in the fields of security and energy as well as Azerbaijan's emergence as a key economic player in the region. The paper explores the strategic interests that shape Azerbaijan's policy toward the region by discussing the tensions among its priorities, which mainly due to the two major changes in Azerbaijan's security environment in the Caspian Sea basin in the post-Soviet era. The first major change was the 9/11 events while the second one was the Russia - Georgia War in 2008. The paper argues that Azerbaijan's active participation in the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan could motivate the US to adopt a more active strategy towards the Caucasus, where it has been pursuing a low-profile foreign policy since 2008. In this context, Azerbaijan's relations with the US are likely to develop further, not only because Azerbaijan is a reliable ally in Afghanistan, but also because it is a strategic partner for the security of the Caspian Sea energy supplies.
The paper investigates how co-operation between Russia and NATO in the war in Afghanistan since 2001 has affected security and political relationships in the former Soviet Central Asia. The Central Asian states largely benefit from the competition among Russia, China and the United States in the region. Nevertheless, this competition is not a zero-sum game as all actors have shared interest in enhancing security in Afghanistan and Central Asia. In fact, Russia and NATO's common interests in the ‘war on terror’ led to Russian President Vladimir Putin initially approving the establishment of American bases in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan and access to facilities in Tajikistan. Although the security developments in Afghanistan have increased the geopolitical importance of Central Asia for the United States and Russia, the increasing military presence of the United States in Afghanistan and Central Asia has not weakened Russia's security hegemony in the region considerably.
This paper seeks to examine the foreign policies of the United States and Russia towards Central Asia. The paper also aims at exploring the competition between the two countries and its consequences for the Central Asian states. The main argument of the paper is that despite the fact that the active involvement of the United States and Russia in the Central Asian security produces positive effects for the Central Asian countries, the worsening of their bilateral relations increases their regional competition and undermines political stability in Central Asia. In the aftermath of 9/11, the United States projected its influence to the Central Asia, and maintained its dominance until 2006. Russia challenged the US influence in the region and reasserted itself significantly between 2006 and 2009. This is followed by a period of balancing policies of both the United States and Russia between 2009 and the present.
This chapter seeks to examine Turkey's contributions to the security of Afghanistan and Central Asia since the beginning of the fight against international terrorism in the aftermath of 11 September 2001. The paper identifies that Ankara's security policy towards Afghanistan and the Central Asian states has been characterized by the use of soft power rather than hard power since 9/11. Previously, Turkey's security policy towards Afghanistan and Central Asia had been guided by its ambitious and unrealistic desire of becoming a hegemonic power of the region, replacing Moscow. The main argument of the paper is as follows: although Ankara seems to be garnering a significant level of political support for its soft power policies towards Afghanistan and Central Asia from its global and regional partners, Turkey's soft power has significant limitations due to Ankara's lack of a comprehensive strategy towards the region, its shortcomings in coordinating its policies with its NATO allies as well as the gap between its expectations and capabilities. The paper also notes that Turkey's engagement in the security of Afghanistan and Central Asia is a long term commitment that is very likely to continue even after the successful realization of NATO's ISAF mission in Afghanistan in 2014.
The traumatic events of recent years have resulted in Afghanistan becoming largely isolated from its neighbours. This process is now being reversed. One channel of interaction is Afghanistan's membership of regional organisations such as the Economic Cooperation Organisation, South-Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia. These bodies play a valuable role in re-integrating Afghanistan into the wider region, giving it visibility in regional debates and creating opportunities for collaboration in regional projects. A positive role is also being played by Afghanistan's neighbours and near neighbours. Some of these relationships are conducted on a bilateral basis, while others take place within multilateral structures. There is a high level of regional involvement in internationally-led initiatives. These include the fight against drug trafficking and other forms of organised crime, led by UNODC and affiliated institutions. Noteworthy, too, are the large-scale projects that are being implemented under the aegis of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) programme, in particular CASA-1000 and the TAPI gas pipeline.
This paper analyzes the historical evolution of political processes and security developments in Afghanistan during the periods of the Soviet occupation, the civil war in the early 1990s, the Taliban regime as well as the post-Taliban regime until the present. The paper focuses on the various aspects of the fight against international terrorism on the territory of Afghanistan since the defeat of the Taliban regime with the beginning of the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001. In this respect, the paper explores the roles of NATO and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in promoting international cooperation concerning the stabilization of the security situation in Afghanistan. The paper also evaluates the prospects for the future of Afghanistan's security situation by taking into consideration the current security dynamics in this country.
Over the past ten years, the leaders of the CSTO and the NATO stated that these organizations have two areas of cooperation: the fight against transnational terrorism in Afghanistan and the maintenance of stability in Central Asia. The dangers of ‘Taliban’ and ‘Al Qaeda’ have prompted Russia to accept NATO's military presence in Central Asia. The security situation has changed in the region since 2009. NATO fears that Russia uses the CSTO mechanisms for the extrusion of the alliance from Central Asia. Moscow fears that NATO is not trying to stop the opium production in Afghanistan, but to establish a military and political dialogue with the Central Asian countries bypassing Russia. These trends have worsened after the NATO's Lisbon summit in 2010, which adopted the decision to withdraw the alliance forces from Afghanistan. Nevertheless, both the CSTO and NATO need to create new institutional mechanisms for enhancing their dialogue, and perhaps co-operation, on a wide range of regional issues.
This paper is about the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the role it had and is playing in the security of Central Asian region and around it. The SCO is one of the few security organizations in Central Asia that involves such players as China and Russia, as well as the Central Asia states. The observer status of India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia in SCO makes the organization one of the largest entities in the world in terms of its geographical scope. The paper focuses especially on the security developments in Afghanistan as it is a vital point for the security in Central Asia. In fact, Afghanistan borders with three of member states and two observer states of the SCO. In order to enhance regional cooperation, Afghanistan has established a contact group to foster bilateral relations with the SCO in political, economic and security areas in 2005. The aim of the paper is to show that although the SCO has made numerous efforts and adopted many documents on regional security since its establishment in 2001, yet it has done very little in practice for the provision of security in the region.