These are very interesting times in which we are now living. News from Central Asia is coming every day. As soon as the Russian media raised the issue of the American army's presence in the region, Washington started releasing statements asserting that the US army would not stay long in Central Asia.
The commander of the US Armed Forces in Afghanistan, General Tommy Franks, visited the capitals of the Central Asian republics. He kept saying that Russia and the USA were not adversaries in the region and that the Americans are not going to stay long in Central Asia. These words must have been very pleasant for the Russian politicians, but few people believed them. Maybe this is what General Franks thinks, but it will not be General Franks who will make the decision or establish the army bases.
Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defense Secretary, said on Thursday that the Pentagon would continue the close cooperation with the countries of the Central Asia. As RIA Novosti informed, the Pentagon had not yet determined the long-term plans in the region, but the American authorities were going to think them over in the coming months. So the Americans are not leaving yet. As a matter of fact, the different opinions expressed by the American defense officials, can only testify to the fact that the USA does not have a precise long-term strategy in Central Asia. Maybe the Americans are trying to conceal their strategy, which is more likely, since the issue of the USA’s presence in the Central Asia has been settled already.
It would be very surprising if the Americans leave right after the military operation in Afghanistan is completed. America is very interested in its influence in the Central Asia. The army bases can be very good in this respect.
Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
AP photo: The U.S. Commander of the military campaign in Afghanistan, Gen. Tommy Franks