Uzbekistan becomes US moderator in inter-Afghan process
The United States will finance several transport and communications projects linking Afghanistan with Central Asian countries. This was discussed at the talks in Tashkent by Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov with US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad. The meeting was also attended by the Chief Executive Officer of the United States Corporation for International Development Financing (DFC) Adam Bohler.
“The American side highly appreciated the efforts of the leadership of Uzbekistan to promote a regional approach in the peaceful settlement of the situation in Afghanistan and reiterated its readiness to continue active cooperation in this direction,” the Foreign Ministry press service said. Representatives of the two countries exchanged views on attracting DFC funds to finance projects aimed at expanding economic, transport and communication ties between Afghanistan and the countries of the region.
As the director of the Central Asia and the Caucasus Institute (USA) Frederick Starr previously told Vestnik Kavkaza, "Central Asian countries regard Afghanistan not as a troubled neighbor, but as an integral part of the region." A number of investment projects are being jointly implemented in the transport, energy and humanitarian sectors. To the question of the Vestnik Kavkaza, what place Central Asia occupies on the map of American politics, Starr answered briefly and comprehensively - "special." It is noteworthy that Frederick Starr is a supporter of the Democrats, the keeper of the approaches of the Obama administration, which the current president Donald Trump is trying to get rid of. At the same time, the Central Asia-US cooperation format “C5 + 1” created under Obama does not touch. Since Washington’s goal is to realize its project “Big Central Asia”, which includes Afghanistan and the post-Soviet republics.
By coincidence, or it was still planned like that, during the visit of Zalmay Khalilzad in Tashkent, a ministerial meeting was held in the format of the video conference “C5 + 1”. Khalilzad took part in it, since the talks at the talks were about the development of cooperation in the region, including Afghanistan. Abdulaziz Kamilov proposed to strengthen cooperation in several areas: the development of the digital economy; consolidation of national transport strategies; stimulation of innovation in agriculture; building up the energy potential of Central Asian countries; improving the socio-economic situation in environmentally unfavorable zones of Central Asia, including the transformation of the Aral Sea region into a zone of innovation and technology.
Some of the projects promise to finance the American DFC. However, according to the expert on Central Asia and the Middle East, Alexander Knyazev, there will be no large costs from the United States. Most likely, India will invest, which has become more active in Afghanistan. India previously provided $ 3 billion for the development of Afghanistan, but still remains out of work in this country. This was reported by the Indian edition of moneycontrol.com. “India must join forces with Central Asia to achieve peace in Afghanistan,” the Indian capital is believed.
“New Delhi intends to create a new integration (cooperation) format in the region that would ensure the growth of India’s geopolitical and geo-economic influence. This trend is also manifested in the desire of India to develop bilateral relations, in particular, with Uzbekistan, and in such a difficult field as military cooperation. With this in mind, we can expect in the near future and the expansion of the trilateral to quadripartite level: USA - Afghanistan - Uzbekistan - India. And the already begun dialogue "Central Asia - India" will become its complement and should contribute to the involvement of other Central Asian countries in this process. It is also possible to put forward a hypothesis about an attempt to create a controlled geopolitical axis of Tashkent-Delhi (or even Tashkent-Kabul-Delhi) in the context of a general increase in Washington’s activity in the region, ”Alexander Knyazev told Vestnik Kavkaza. The expert believes that India and Uzbekistan can be represented as moderators of the United States in Afghanistan. The United States will try to shift real work to them.