US Afghan war spreads East and West

Developing Just Leadership

Crescent International

Jumada' al-Akhirah 08, 1430 2009-06-01

Editorials

by Crescent International (Editorials, Crescent International Vol. 38, No. 4, Jumada' al-Akhirah, 1430)

It was bound to happen; in fact, the US wants it this way. Its gross failures in Afghanistan are not only blamed on others, the war is also deliberately being spread to Pakistan and the Central Asian republics with frightening consequences. The expansion of the US war into Pakistan is well known; several stories in this issue of Crescent International provide detailed accounts of what is happening. What is less well-known is the rapidly deteriorating situation in the Central Asian republics, especially in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

On May 26, Tajik security forces launched large-scale operation in the eastern Rasht Valley 150 kilometres east of capital Dushanbe on the pretext of eradicating poppy cultivation but local residents say the region has never been used for poppy growing. The real reason seems to be a militant Islamic commander, Abdullo Rakhimov who apparently returned to the valley following Pakistan’s military operations in Swat. Rasht Valley was his base of operations during Tajikistan’s 1992–97 civil war serving as a stronghold during five years of internecine strife of the United Tajik Opposition (UTO), which battled against forces of incumbent President Imomali Rahmanov. Abdullo refused to sign the 1997 peace deal and continued to fight until captured in 2000 but managed to escape linking up with fellow Tajik, the Afghan warlord, Ahmed Shah Masoud.

Similar troubles have erupted in neighbouring Uzbekistan where a suicide bombing in Andijan, as well as an armed clashes between gunmen and security forces in the Uzbek border town of Khanabad, occurred on May 26. Parts of Ferghana Valley were placed under curfew following the violent confrontation in Khanabad, a major crossing point on Uzbekistan’s frontier with Kyrgyzstan. Besides a heavy military presence in Khanabad, troops and police were also out in force in major cities throughout the Ferghana Valley. Tanks and armored vehicles were deployed in Andijan, the city where security forces carried out a massacre of civilian demonstrators in May of 2005. The entire length of Kyrgyz-Uzbek border is sealed.

The US Afghan war has now spread to the rest of the region. It will inflict more misery on the hapless people and lead to further escalation in the conflict.

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