Russia is taking, jointly with the other member states of the Collective Security Treaty, additional measures so that a potential "negative development of the situation in Afghanistan does not take us by surprise". Boris Pastukhov, chairman of the committee for CIS affairs and relations with compatriots of the State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament, said this on Monday. In accordance with the Collective Security Treaty, collective forces to combat terrorism have been created, to which each of the parties has undertaken to dispatch a battalion, he said. The joint command of these forces is headquartered in the Kirghiz capital Bishkek, where the branch of the CIS anti-terrorist center is also located. Russia's calls to strengthen the CIS southern borders have not yet met with due response on the part of Central-Asian states, noted Pastukhov. He explained this by their reluctance to risk the lives of their servicemen and bear the relevant additional expenses.
Several years ago, a prominent Indonesian businessman who now resides in Canada, insisted on meeting me in a back room of one of Jakarta's posh restaurants. An avid reader of mine, he 'had something urgent to tell me', after finding out that our paths were going to be crossing in this destroyed and hopelessly polluted Indonesian capital.