Uzbekistan has supported carrying out the anti-terrorist operation against Afghanistan and has rendered its territory to the USA for the duration of the operation. However, the Americans seem to have settled in here for a long time.
President Karimov’s logic is easy to understand: he regards the US as Uzbekistan’s protector from external and internal enemies. The situation with the external enemy (the Taliban)is clear enough. However, the internal enemy, the Islamite Movement of Uzbekistan, which is headed by Namangani, is another thing. Here, Americans can hardly help Uzbekistan, because the movement’s bases are situated on several states’ territories, where US troops would not be welcomed. Russia does not like this rapprochement between Uzbekistan and the US, though while respecting its neighbour, Moscow hopes to bring Uzbekistan to its side. In particular, a project about guarding the Afghan-Uzbek border by Russian frontier gurards is being considered,as well as a Russia’s assistance in combating Namangani’s groups. The proposal is very alluring for Uzbekistan, though it could seem to be not enough for Karimov. In addition to financial aid to Uzbekistan, the US is also considering the possibility of creating an Uzbek state on Afghan territory controlled by Tashkent. Establishing such contacts with the US, Uzbekistan created a dangerous precedent for other CIS countries, for example Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. If Russian diplomacy does not immediately find any ways in this direction, it could loose its influence in the region.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2001/10/26/33162.html