There have already been quite a few predictions about how the world geopolitical situation will develop after the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan. There is no doubt that this step will have a negative impact on the security of European states. Especially, the withdrawal of European military forces from Afghanistan could destabilize the situation in Central Asia and southern Russia, and also lead to the radicalization of the Muslim population of these countries. Unfortunately, at present, the level of relations between Russia and NATO sets aside much to be desired, so it is difficult to count on joint actions in the fight against Islamic radicalism and terrorism in this region.
The US leadership pretends not to remember the time when Russia, after the September 11 attacks, supported the Americans in overthrowing the Taliban in Afghanistan. It cannot be said that this was a concession of the Russian authorities to the pressure of the American side. These actions were in the strategic interests of Russia itself. After all, the Taliban were really a real external threat to Russia and controlled 95% of the territory of their country. The Taliban worked closely with the radical Muslims of the North Caucasus, Central Asia and the Muslim communities of Russia. Therefore, Russia supported the North Atlantic Alliance in their anti-terrorist Afghan operation: the Russian side provided intelligence and equipment to the NATO military contingent. Russia also convinced its Central Asian colleagues in the former union to provide bases for the Americans in their territories. These steps have greatly helped the alliance to overthrow the power of the Taliban. After the overthrow of the Taliban authorities in Afghanistan, Russia did not interfere in American policy pursued in Afghan territory. The Russian government even took another step towards the United States, expanded the northern supply channel for NATO forces in Afghanistan. Thus, creating an alternative path to the Pakistani channel through the Khyber Pass. It should be noted that 45 thousands of containers with cargo and about 400 thousands of servicemen passed through the Russian channel in support of operations in Afghanistan. In 2012, Russia provided NATO with another supply route for the Afghan group of the North Atlantic bloc - through the Volga region. To this end, NATO has opened a transit center in Ulyanovsk. And this is at a time when there are disagreements between the United States and Russia on a wide range of issues.
When the Taliban were in power in Afghanistan, they provided their military training centers for Chechen militants and Islamists from Central Asia. Those were not indebted to the "teachers" - they fought on their side against the NATO forces. But now these trained fighters penetrate back to their homeland, but with weapons and ammunition. It is possible that they will use their skills and abilities to make their countries an arena of struggle.
For example, a previously unknown Uzbek group of the Islamic movement (IMU) suddenly became active and gaining strength. At present, this group is professionally preparing for long-term military actions on the territory of Central Asia. Its first goal may be the overthrow of the current president, who for a long time did not allow the opposition to raise its head in the country. Another goal could be the leader of Tajikistan, Emomali Rakhmon, who with the help of Russian troops in 90-s suppressed the Islamists in the state.
Unfortunately, Islamist threats concern not only Central Asia. Radical Islam is actively spreading on the territory of Russia itself. For example, in previously peaceful Islamic communities living on the banks of the Russian river - the Volga.
Thus, members of the Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamist movement, practically expelled by the authorities of the former Soviet Central Asian republics, began to gather in the lower reaches of the Volga. And although in 2003, by the decision of the Supreme Court of Russia, this organization was recognized as terrorist, its activity continued with the same activity. The killings of Muslim spiritual leaders in Tatarstan became the victims of Islamic terror. In addition, in October 2012, the FSB forces of Russia prevented a terrorist act in the capital of Tatarstan.
I did not want the Volga region to repeat the fate of Dagestan. Dagestan after the introduction of a ban on extremist activity swept a wave of violence. Currently, Dagestan is considered the most dangerous place in the entire North Caucasus.
Islamists are not accidentally settled in the Volga region. About 40% of Muslims live in this Russian district, there is a huge stock of oil and gas (13 and 12 percent, respectively, of the total Russian volume), 96% of potassium reserves, 60% of phosphorus deposits and 16% of copper reserves. The Volga region has the highest industrial production in the country (24%), about 16% of all Russian investments are invested in this region. Numerous oil pipelines and 5 gas pipelines pass through the territory of this district. The region is bordered by Kazakhstan, which makes it even a gateway to Central Asia. All these factors greatly affect the economic and political situation not only of this region, but of the whole country.
And although it is considered stable and much calmer than the Caucasus region, the Russian special services and special forces in 2010 conducted a series of operations against terrorists in the Nurlatsky region (Tatarstan) and in the Arkhangelsk region (Bashkortostan). A native of Ingushetia, who created the Islamic underground in Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, was arrested. On account of this thugs numerous sabotage, including on the gas pipeline in Birsk area (Bashkortostan).
Russia continues to fight terrorists in the North Caucasus. He tries to control the situation in the Volga region, where radical Islam can at any moment destabilize the situation in the region and appear before the world community as the victorious revolutionary force. It is no secret that the Russian and Central Asian Islamists derive their strength from the victories of the Taliban in Afghanistan. The inability of the armed forces of the Central Asian countries to restrain the aggressive actions of Islamist movements supported by the Taliban makes Russia strategically vulnerable.
The Russian authorities understand that the failure of the NATO mission in Afghanistan can have very serious consequences for the country. Russia needs to prepare to live without an American cover from the actions of the Afghan Taliban. But it seems that Russian politicians and military in this matter are in a state of confusion and mutual misunderstanding.
Thus, at present, the Russian side is considering the possibility of covering the Tajik-Afghan border with Russian border guards. This was announced by the Russian Ambassador in Kabul A. Avetisyan. But, the opinion of the government official did not coincide with the position of the CSTO Secretary General N. Bordyuzha. Former head of the border service of the Russian Federation, Bordyuzha believes that there is no need to deploy the Russian military contingent on the border of Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Bordyuzha proposes to consider this issue only in terms of technical, methodological assistance, as well as personnel training of Tajik border guards. That is, leaving, almost without the support of poorly trained local border guards on the most difficult part of the Afghan-Central Asian border. Bordyuzha is confident that they will be able to prevent well-trained, armed and experienced radical Islamists from entering the territory of Russia. It is strange to hear from an experienced military. Moreover, Bordyuzha himself considers the main task of the CSTO to be to minimize the possible threat to the border areas after the withdrawal of the North Atlantic bloc from Afghanistan.
Note that eight years ago, the Russian border guards left the Afghan-Tajik border, giving way to local border guards and leaving behind only the task force consisting of several dozen officers. But now the situation near the Afghan border has deteriorated significantly. The Tajik-Afghan border has become the main transit point and channel for the entry of hard drugs into Russia and Europe (opium, heroin). Over these eight years, the number of drug addicts in Russia has quadrupled. This was to be expected, since Afghanistan owns 90% of the global heroin production market. In eight years, deadly production in Afghanistan has quadrupled. Today there is practically no competent and reliable system of protection against drug trafficking. And after NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and Russia’s failure to take adequate measures to protect it, Afghanistan will become a zone of instability, uncontrolled drug trafficking, cross-border crime and uncontrolled migration.
According to experts, the strengthening of the Tajik-Afghan border by Russian border guards is only the first step in protecting Russia's interests.
For example, experienced border guards with experience in Tajikistan believe that technical and methodological assistance to Tajik border guards is not enough to improve the situation. After all, the Tajik border guards do not have the necessary level of professionalism, have poor performing discipline and receive a small (by the standards of Tajikistan) monetary allowance. So, in this situation, the constant increase in drug trafficking across the Tajik-Afghan border is a completely expected phenomenon. Russian military experts reasonably believe that during negotiations with the leadership of Tajikistan on the return of Russian border guards to the Tajik-Afghan border, it is necessary to ensure that the frontier posts are under the jurisdiction of the FSB of Russia. Military expert Eduard Rodyukov believes that on the basis of the Russian military unit and the CSTO collective rapid reaction forces should be created maneuverable groups that will support the border guards, as was the case in the 90s of the last century. Then, the actions of the military contingent, consisting of military units of Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, were recognized as successful.
But any plans should be coordinated with the leadership of Tajikistan, and, for today, E. Rakhmon actively began to pursue an anti-Russian policy: ratification of the agreement on the Russian military base in Tajikistan was frozen, broadcasting of the Zvezda TV channel was prohibited, the media constantly publish anti-Russian materials, etc. .
But there is still hope for reaching agreements on the return of Russian border guards to the border. After all, the anti-Russian policy of Rakhmon could lead to the intensification of domestic Muslim extremism, the catalyst of which would be Afghanistan.
It also draws attention to the fact that the Americans are in no hurry to leave the Central Asian bases provided to them for temporary use. It is possible that they will settle there on a permanent basis and will survive Russia from this region. Analysts say that for Russia the threat from the American military is real enough. Over the years they have been in Asia, Americans have learned how to solve their problems with someone else’s hands. And it is absolutely not fantastic that they will be able to organize a strike by the rebel forces from the internationalist scum on the Russian Tyumen oil and gas complex. A similar scenario worked out by them in Syria. NATO has long had plans to seize with the use of mercenaries in Western Siberia, the Volga region and the Urals. NATO strategists have long learned how to pretreat the territory planned for seizure with huge supplies of drugs, as well as financial and quasi-biological weapons.
In addition, the preservation of US military bases near Russian territory will allow NATO, in the event of an open confrontation, to inflict, almost unrequited, missile and aviation attacks on Russian cities.
While Russian politicians were engaged in boltology over the expansion of NATO to the east, NATO had already settled in Central Asia and Kazakhstan, and, therefore, prepared a blow to the Russian borders from the south and from the side.
It only seems that the Americans are leaving the Asian region leaving Afghanistan. They managed to convince the whole world that they were fighting the world's evil - the Taliban. At that time, according to analysts, they worked out and created a system of instant mobilization and concentration of militants of all stripes with their Islamic networks, including in the territory of the Russian Federation, to perform specific tasks in the interests of the United States and NATO.
Thus, it seems that the Russian authorities, perhaps, underestimate the increase in the level of danger for the Russian statehood associated with the withdrawal of NATO members from Afghanistan. But, the question of the return of Russian border guards to the Tajik-Afghan border, of course, will be one of the steps that increase Russia's chance to survive in this complex geopolitical situation.